By Reggie Ellis

On June 3, students from all over the foothills graduated from high school.

While graduation is one of the most exciting times for teenagers it can also be one of the most expensive times for their families.

Senior portraits can be extremely costly and many students cannot afford it in addition to some nice clothes, food for a family gathering, yearbooks, class rings all on the heels of prom night.

"Portraits can be too much for some of these kids and their family's financial circumstances," said Sam Taylor, teacher at Farmersville High School.

That's why this year, Taylor, who teaches photography, decided to give seniors another option. Four of Taylor's advanced photography students set up a studio in one of the class rooms on campus.

They set up the proper lighting, backdrops and digital camera equipment and took photographs of each of the graduating seniors.

"This is a vocational class so we used the opportunity to make it a very practical project," said Taylor, who has been teaching at the school since 1997.

"I wanted to teach these kids that you can earn a living through art."

Seniors were photographed in their gowns to set them apart from the other students. Seniors set up appointments with the photography students during their home room period. The photographs were primarily for the yearbook, Taylor said the students offered to provide the photographs on CD for students to print as many copies as they wanted for family, free of charge.

"There were a lot of kids who took advantage of that," Taylor said, estimating that about 20% of the graduates requested CDs. "CDs are only 25 cents a piece."

The photography students even received a letter of recommendation from Superintendent Janet Jones. "The students handled the entire project on their own," Taylor said. "They did a nice job and the yearbook looks classy."

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