Last year, Trinity Episcopal School (my employer) launched a Light the Fire grant. It’s an “out of the box” professional development grant for faculty and staff – encouraging us to dream big and hone in on an area of our profession that we are most passionate about. Last year there were three recipients with varying projects, but all of them were teachers.
This past January, with the Light the Fire application deadline nearing, I had not considered applying because well, I’m in administration and don’t necessarily have direct classroom interaction with students. I assumed this award was really for teachers. Within a week, I had two people from the Light the Fire committee pull me aside to say they thought I should apply for this year’s grant. After hours of brainstorming and talking through potential ideas I took the plunge and filled out my application.
I truly love my job. I wake up every day with an honest excitement to go to work…and I just finished my fifth school year! I’m part of a school community that supports, encourages, challenges and loves like a family. I know this to be a highly unique and blessed situation, one that I try not to take for granted.
My job at Trinity is officially tagged as “Communications & Alumni Relations” but within that title resides many, many different roles. I handle parent communications, run our website, design promotional materials, handle advertising and media relations, connect and work with Trinity’s alums and serve as the official photographer for the School.
I have a job that highlights and promotes my creativity and passion for design, photography and for people. I am blessed to work with the best teachers on the planet, the most amazing students and in a place that values the things I value – love, service, collaboration, innovation, creativity and community.
One of the most meaningful tasks of my position at Trinity is telling the stories of our passionate teachers, extraordinary students and outstanding alumni. On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to capture and share the beauty of our students striving to reach their unique individual potential academically, socially and civically as ambassadors of God’s grace in our Trinity community, and out in the world.
Capturing these moments through photography and through writing are huge functions of my job as Communications Manager for our school. I was first introduced to photography in high school and then further explored the art in college. My photojournalism classes at South Carolina were the last exposure I had to photography lessons.
As I said in my application, photography is an area where I would like to grow and refine my talents to better serve our school community, better communicate to the world and inspire my own love for learning. Trinity’s philosophy of learning goes WAY beyond sitting at a desk in a classroom– this school is ALL about giving its students(and faculty/staff) the opportunity to EXPERIENCE learning.
Y’all, I won one of the grants!
This time next week, I will be strolling the beautiful streets of San Francisco, California. I’ve never been to California and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity given to me by the BEST school (and job) in the entire world, Trinity Episcopal School.
My trip will begin in Los Angeles next Wednesday. Back in February, I took a chance and reached out to my favorite food blogger, Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen, to see if she would allow me to come shadow/cook/photograph with her for a day. Emailing someone who is, in my mind, a blogger-celebrity – I knew it was a long shot.
Until, she emailed me back…that. same. day. And said that she would love to. WHAT THE WHAT!? I freaked and still freak out with excitement when I think about it.
The second part of my trip plan was to take a 4-day National Geographic Photography Workshop in San Francisco. After receiving the good news about my grant approval, I quickly bought my airline tickets and paid for the workshop.
Fast forward a couple of months. I get an email in April from National Geographic saying that they only had 9 registrants and needed 11, so the workshop was cancelled. Say what?! I scrambled. For a few days, I searched and searched for other photography classes, workshops or SOMETHING that could somewhat resemble the workshop. Nothing.
Then, I had a thought. The Nat Geo photographer that was to lead the workshop, Catherine Karnow, lives IN San Francisco and well, now that the workshop was cancelled, she would have this weekend free. After a *wee* bit of internet stalking, I found her photography site and emailed her to see if she would be willing to do a similar workshop. Again, long shot.
Until, she emailed me back…again, that same day. Absolutely AND it’ll be less money. Done & done.
Thanks to my new-found obsession with AirBnb, I booked this fabulous apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco and paid for the workshop.
I’m now a week away from the trip of a lifetime.
What about Jay? Oh that sweet fella is coming to Cali with me. He will fly out and meet me in San Fran. After my workshop is finished, we will rent a car and drive to Sonoma – spending a few days taking in the beautiful Wine Country. (Side note: we were scheduled to visit two years ago, until I fractured my ankle playing KICKBALL. The hospital took our wine money. Don’t laugh.)
THESE are the kinds of blessings and ridiculous life surprises that make me smile so hard my face hurts. Despite the weight of other things going on in my life, these are the kinds of things that bring me up from the dark places and show me that God’s plans for me are better than anything I have planned…and that makes me thankful, excited and so, so humbled.
I cannot wait.