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 JCCS Students Highlight Valued Qualities at Photo Show

Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) students showed off their positive qualities and displayed some of the things that inspire or inhibit them through photographs today at the San Diego County Office of Education.

The photo show was part of JCCS’ partnership with The AjA Project, a group that aims to transform the lives of youth and communities through photography.

Each student displayed three photos: one that represented a quality they value about themselves, and others to symbolize the things that inspire and inhibit that quality.

Stefon, a student at La Mesa Community School, chose “resilience” as his trait on which to focus the lens. He said he has enjoyed learning more about photography through The AjA Project and now takes more pictures at home.

“It’s fun, and it’s another way to express yourself,” he said.

He also said he was happy to see so many students, teachers and County Office of Education employees at the show.

“It shows that there are people out there who care,” he said.

Having positive reinforcement from an art show like this can be very powerful for students, said Andrew Bye, a teacher at Youth Day Center.

“To be validated for positive stuff is not something that these kids are used to,” he said.

Terry Rogers was there to support his daughter, who showed her photos. He said he was excited to see her work on the wall.

“It’s good to see people come out and take the time to see the pictures,” he said. 

Educators with The AjA Project visited JCCS classrooms starting in April to teach students about the basics of photography and how to express themselves through pictures.

“It’s an opportunity for them to be very honest,” Bye said. “It’s very raw; it’s very real.”