Bringing RHS grads virtually together
Local photographer looks to spread cheer with cap and gown photos
By Eileen Persike
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. When many are searching for some semblance of what is being called a “new” normal, there are undoubtedly some young adults who are wishing their high school or college graduation could be more like the “old” normal.
Rhinelander High School has tentatively scheduled a traditional graduation ceremony to take place in July, but like other events, these plans may change as well. Last week seniors drove through the loop in front of the high school, picked up cap and gown and also a personalized yard sign the school district had made as a way of getting the students some recognition.
Looking for a way to make this year special for seniors, the Rhinelander photographer who started the Front Steps Project in the Northwoods is taking that idea to celebrate local graduates in a new way. Temel Yasar of Softlight Photography is offering ten-minute socially-distanced photo shoots of grads in their caps and gowns at no charge, but with the hope that parents make a donation to the Rhinelander Fab Lab.
“The purpose of this project is to virtually bring 2020 graduates together and congratulate them,” Yasal states on his Facebook page. “I aim to highlight the bright future of our town and our country one picture at a time. Participating in this project is also an opportunity to step up to help scientific and technological studios in RHS.”
It’s a small gift, he added, to cheer up the class of 2020.
Laura Durkee is the parent of Rhinelander senior Kendra Durkee. She messaged Yasar after seeing a news story on a “porch prom” photo shoot in Wrightsville, Wisconsin.
“I thought it was a cute idea and then I thought it would be neat to do with the seniors,” Durkee said. “I feel terrible not only for our daughter, but for the high school seniors in the class of 2020. They may not know what a real graduation ceremony will be like.”
Yasar noted the Hodag Fab Lab has been “diligently working to 3D print Montana HEPA protective face masks for local medical and law enforcement workers. Supporting community efforts to help flatten the curve are at the heart of this project.”
For each photo session, Yasar provides access to high resolution images with printing rights. To schedule an appointment, message Yasar on his Softlight Photography Facebook page.