Emily Huddleston was surprised when Mr. Elrod asked his fifth-period class to come to the front of Jasper High School for a class photo.
When the students arrived near the entryway next to the main office, Cam Bardwell, the regional Jostens representative, was standing there with two leather-bound certificates.
It was as if they knew what was coming. The students lined up creating a funnel to Emily who, as Cam began to speak, seemed to realize this may be about her.
The two leather-bound certificates were to announce two of Emily’s photos had been chosen for high honors by the company. She received first place in the portrait category for a picture of Jack Greener during last year’s production of Mary Poppins and an honorable mention in the student traditions category for her photo of Hannah Welp during a basketball sectional pep rally held in February.
Emily, a junior at Jasper High School, has been taking photos for several years and had entered the two winning photos into the annual contest. Among the thousands, two of the had stood out enough to the four-judge panel that she had earned the two distinctions.
According to Bardwell, this was the first time a student and school in his region had been honored with a first place and honorable mention by the selection committee in the 16 years he has been a Jostens rep.
“I was surprised but I realized what was happening since my friend also submitted photos and she was the one holding a camera as we walked up,” Emily said.
It’s a prestigious honor from the company that is known for its yearbook productions. Founded in 1897, Jostens has produced school yearbooks for over 60 years.
“This is such a huge honor,” said Evan Elrod, Jasper Yearbook Advisor. “We have had such talented students enter this contest year in and year out throughout many schools in the area, and for one to finally be recognized from JHS is just spectacular.”
This annual competition empowers students to positively capture their school experiences and share the stories of their entire school communities through photography.
The award-winning photos will be showcased in the next release of the Jostens Look Book which serves as a mode of inspiration for yearbook staffs across the country. It will be published in March of 2018.
Emily’s photos were chosen from 4,000 photographs submitted from across the country. From these entries, 85 winners were selected. Photo contest submissions were judged by a panel of four judges consisting of professional photographers and photography instructors.
The judges focused on composition, artistic merit, and technical qualities, as well as the ability to convey a compelling story.
Emily is the co-editor of “The J” (Jasper High School’s yearbook) and has enjoyed photography since her aunt Brooke Murphy, a photographer, introduced her to it in the seventh grade.
Although Elrod mentioned she was a well-rounded writer and photographer, Emily explained she prefers photography and the honor has emboldened her to continue to explore it as a profession.
Emily is the daughter of Joseph and Tammy Huddleston of Jasper.