Last year's photo contest was such a great success, so I thought it would be wonderful to do again. It should be easier; the 2nd one was great though it certainly was not easier.
I had gotten tired of the girls always asking me if they could have my camera now and right after they had just given it up. So... I brought TWO cameras this year. I would cut my headaches in half; wrong again. I doubled them as they all wanted to use both cameras. And what I didn't think about was with two cameras there would be twice as many pictures to judge. In fact, my girls had taken over 2,000 pictures for the photo contest.
I changed the categories this year as I wanted to try and give the smaller girls a better chance of winning one of the prizes. So the categories this year were: Happy Faces, Work/Study, Play, Abstract/Unusual and Action. Can you guess which category had the least submissions?
I spent a whole weekend trying to sort out all the photographs and then get each category down to 10 finalists. I couldn't do it; I had to have 15 finalists and even then it was tough. Then, I had to go to get them finalists printed as 5x7's so they could be seen from a distance. Usually, i am out in an hour; however, this time it was over three hours - ugh. Off to St Ann's to put them up on a wall.
Oh the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" as I put up the finalists, the chorus began:
[They all know who took what pictures and absolutely no fights.]
"Where are my pictures, Father John?".
"I know you missed mine."
"Why didn't you pick mine?"
I have no idea of who took what pictures as the girls go off by themselves and take the pictures. I couldn't pick my favourites even if I wanted. This is the reason that I don't want to judge the winners... The non-winners would be unrelenting... So I bring in some "Ringers". They don't know the girls and the girls don't know them. This year I brought in the highly qualified Mercy Corp Volunteers:
|The Judges: Annie, Matthew, Monica and Jess|
I played security as the judges had some "quiet" time to pick their favourites in each category. It is amazing that these young girls instinctively know that they should try and influence the judges and were constantly sneaking around to assist the judges with their tasks.
First a stop in Ohio
I have to tell a back story in order for you to appreciate the generosity of my supporters. I have a chaplaincy colleague, Rev. Deborah Damore, who is now the bishop of Summa Health Systems in Akron, Ohio. She invited me to come and talk to the Chaplaincy Staff at the hospitals. And, one of her residents, Rev Shannon Blower, who is the pastor at Church at Stony Hill, Medina, wanted to support my efforts with the St Ann's girls so the children in their Sunday School had raised enough money for five iPod Shuffles for the 2nd Annual.
|John with Rev. Deborah Damore and Rev. Shannon Blower|
Then, Sister Mary Peter another Ursuline Sister at St Ann's and one of my heroes. She is in her late 80's and still teaching mathematics. Just two years ago she "volunteered" to teach mathematics in the deep interior of Guyana. [Mary Peter loved it there as they have no real electricity, so she got up with the sun and went to bed when it went down. No getting up in the middle of the night with the girls.] She was required to come back to Georgetown and at St. Ann's. She wanted to come with me when I visited Petal and that was fine with me. So we set a date for Saturday Morning...
I was working on scoring some exam from the student nurses when the phone rang about noon. "John, where are you?",,, a familiar Mary Peter's voice inquired. Holy S---- [Sugar of course.] I got in a cab and we were off to see Petal.
|Petal grateful for her iPod|
|Cheryl "Teddy Bear" an older St Ann's graduates, |
Sister Mary Peter and Petal
|Anna with her prize while John consoles |
Onisha who can't believe she didn't win
Best in Show Winner
An Added Surprise
|Scarboro Fathers Bev chaperones |
Delly and her friends at Jerries.