Meet Courtney Blansett. Courtney is an amazing senior at Clewiston High School.
Clewiston was once a small-town paradise for people trying to live the American dream. As times changed and economies flopped, the town reflected these struggles. Aggravated assault charges and violent crimes surpass national averages, and, in a town with roughly 7,000 people, risks remain high. Of the 7,000, 30 percent of the population are children.
Clewiston's Schools are at the heart of it all. The faculty and teachers of Clewiston serve as a safe house to many.
For the past nine years, I have had the privilege of sharing my life story, which embody the elements of hope and faith in oneself, with thousands of students in the Clewiston, Florida area. I also share the many aspects of my photography career, and I let the students feel what it’s like to be a professional photographer by handing over my camera to them. My goal is to encourage and inspire them to follow their dreams, and to overcome the challenges that many face.
Four years ago Courtney heard me speak at Clewiston Middle School, and we have stayed in contact with one another over the years. Courtney is living her dream, and I could not be any prouder of her. She is determined to graduate with honors this year, and I am certain that she will achieve this goal.
Courtney, like many in the Clewiston area, has not had an “easy” life. I admire her, because in spite of the challenges that she has faced, she did not allow them to bring her down. In fact, Courtney has worked hard to change her life and future. Courtney has enlisted in the United States Army and will leave for boot camp on June 27, 2017, shortly after her high school graduation. Her goal is to be in the Special Forces, and I am certain that she will succeed with that unbelievable challenge.
Courtney, you are like a daughter to me, and it was an honor and privilege to photograph you for your senior portrait.