Photojournalist reviews accomplishments from past year


Christi Norris

With hands lifted high, senior Hunter Sheffield does not hold back his cheers at the Eagles' matchup against McKinney High Friday, Sept. 20. Although there was a light rain shower late in the third quarter, the student section broke out to sing "Sweet Caroline" together. Prosper came out on top with a win over the Lions 49-14. "My favorite moments of Friday Night Lights are the memories," Sheffield said. "I always tend to meet new people at the game and always establish a friendship, or get to know them better when it's under the lights."

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Picture this: a focus on the start …

I moved to Texas from Washington state at the beginning of my sophomore year (2019-2020). The school I attended my freshman year was small, not only in size but also in the budget, which meant we didn’t have the money to have a ton of programs. I had always had an idea to start a school paper. But, when I moved to Texas, I was excited to hear that there already was one. I had never been on a newspaper staff, let alone written an article, but I did have photography experience. So, I started in the photojournalism class.

My adviser, Mrs. (Lisa) Roskens, gave me a chance to work for the newspaper. She encouraged and helped me to get my foot in the door, even though I knew nothing about photojournalism. I worked hard to earn a spot on the sidelines of football games and worked even harder once I was there. I took photos of the events no one else wanted to cover, including volleyball and tennis. And in the end, it paid off, not only did I become a staff member of my student newspaper, but I placed in photography competitions that I never had even thought of entering.

From being a photojournalist for Eagle Nation Online, I have learned the power of patience. Patience is a photojournalist’s most powerful tool. I tell every photojournalist that at games I could take a thousand photos, and 900 of them would be bad. Fifty would be okay, and 30 would be good, and maybe 10 would be publishable. I have learned that that the perfect shot doesn’t come every quarter or set, or even every game sometimes, but if you work hard, and are patient, your results will reflect that.

Another valuable lesson I learned was the power of self-advocacy. Despite often doubting myself, as a new photojournalist, I had to be able to advocate for myself. I had to tell my photojournalism teacher that I felt like I could be doing more than just the basics. No one else was going to say that I should be able to take photos at football games or volleyball matches, I had to ask for that opportunity and work to earn it. By advocating for myself and letting others see that I was capable of more, I was given the chance to grow and improve.

Throughout this past year as a staff member of Eagle Nation Online, I have learned more than expected. I learned to try new things even if they are new or you might mess up. I learned that it’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to give up because of one failure. But most importantly, I learned that if I want something, and I work hard and have patience, I can achieve positive, unexpected results that can be shared with others.

I am excited to continue as a photojournalist for Eagle Nation Online – as well as taking on the role of photo editor for the 2020-2021 school year. I am looking forward to this new year as an opportunity to continue improving as a photojournalist and a chance to help others gain the confidence they need to accomplish their photojournalism goals.

A Closer Look from my point of view …
1. Eagle blood runs green

I took this first photo at the Prosper vs McKinney High game. This was only the second football game I had ever shot photos at but I worked really hard and got some great shots out of it. I love this picture because I was able to be right next to the players on the sidelines and not just be watching the game or taking photos of it but immortalizing it. Originally Published: Sept. 26, 2019

Sophomore Ryan Threat sprints down the field at McKinney Stadium. Prosper beat McKinney High with a final score of 49-14 during the Sept. 20 varsity game, and the Eagles went on to defeat Plano East with a final score of 42-0 on the Sept. 28 game. “Being on the sidelines gives you a new perspective,” photographer Christi Norris said. “You are more immersed in the game.” (Christi Norris)


2. Eagle fans

This photo was also taken at the Prosper vs. McKinney High game. I really enjoy taking photos at football games for more than just the action on the field because football is about the experience. It’s about the players, and the band and the fans. It’s about everyone who’s a part of the experience. I tried to capture the feeling of that experience with this photo of the Prosper student section, and this photo ended up being my first ever photo of the week. Originally Published: Sept. 25, 2019

Senior Hunter Sheffield does not hold back his cheers at the Eagles matchup against McKinney High. Although there was a light rain shower late in the third quarter, the student section broke out to sing “Sweet Caroline” together. Prosper came out on top with a win over the Lions 49-14. “My favorite moments of Friday Night Lights are the memories,” Sheffield said. “I always tend to meet new people at the game and always establish a friendship, or get to know them better when it’s under the lights.” (Christi Norris)


3. Killing it

As a former volleyball player myself, I jumped at the opportunity to take pictures of Prosper’s nationally-ranked volleyball team. Not only are they a pleasure to watch, but their hard work and sportsmanship clearly show through. I learned from this photo that not only is shooting volleyball hard, but the results of hard work and patience are rewarding. Originally published: Oct. 11, 2019

Varsity setter Mackenzie Jefferson prepares for a kill. She helped lead the team to victory on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Prosper Eagle Arena. In Friday’s match against Plano Senior, Jefferson racked up seven digs and 15 assists. (Christi Norris)


4. Pin it to win it

This is probably my favorite wrestling photo I’ve ever taken. It’s often hard to get a good action shot of wrestlers, but in this photo, I was able to capture the moment of triumph that this competitor had on the mat. From photographing wrestling, I learned that patience is important because that one great shot doesn’t come to every match or even every day, but it will come if you are patient and you work for it. Originally Published: Nov. 15, 2019

Freshman Mason Gordon lifts his opponent off the mat right before getting a takedown. He is one of two freshmen on varsity. “It feels great after all these years of hard work to be on varsity and get a win,” Gordon said. (Christi Norris)

5. A graduation like no other

I took this photo at the class of 2020 graduation Ceremony at the PISD stadium. Photographing graduation meant we needed to focus on the graduates, but the story in between was just as powerful. From this photo, I learned that sometimes a story is most powerful in those in-between moments of quiet. Originally Published: Jun. 06, 2020

Time ticks away at the countdown clock for the start of the 7 p.m. June 5 class of 2020’s graduation ceremony at Prosper’s Children’s Health Stadium. “I’m really excited and so grateful that I get to graduate,” said Senior Isabella Abraham. “I know that a lot of schools aren’t getting in-person graduations so I really appreciate that we get one.” Prosper ISD worked to follow social distancing guidelines as much as possible to protect the seniors despite the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout their graduation. (Christi Norris)