Pretty in PURPLE!!!

A few weeks ago, I had my last official day at the elementary school.  It was marked with surprises, the struggle of 3rd graders trying to keep surprises, tying up a lot of loose ends, a massive rain forest display, ice cream and cake, and plenty of PURPLE!!! I planned earlier that week to wear my Bohemian purple skirt set that Thursday as we prepared for Spring Break.  Well, that Thursday morning when I swung around to pick up my classmate, I noticed that she too was decked in a purple dress (interesting coincidence or just great minds thinking alike).  Anyway, we enjoyed our last day with our students, and then went home… but not without taking a few photos (since I had my camera on me that afternoon and we looked so springy).  Anyway, one of the photos of me was taken by one of my students (not bad… I was actually thinking about hiring him on, if it wasn’t for those child labor laws), and the other was taken by my fellow (student) teacher.  See all of the true beauty of the color of royalty in the images below!


Ms. Thorpe


Ms. Payne

Maybe the Last Paper for a Few Years?!

I managed to let an entire week go by without posting anything… Well, I have a really valid reason!  I had to write a paper!!! And thankfully, this was the LAST paper that I needed to write for my graduate studies.  I am so elated to say that in a few weeks, I will be graduating with my Masters in Education!  To commemorate the pre-celebration, I have included a few images from my paper.  By the way, you may notice that I branded or stylized my paper.  It is hard for me to NOT try and make something look good!  Especially when I am asking someone to read more than one page, I want to want to read the paper myself!  But beyond that, presentation does go a long ways!


Segregation in American Schools

Executive Summary

Excerpt from Executive Summary:

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal is unconstitutional, and therefore, a mandate was established that segregated schools needed to be integrated.  However, almost 60 years later, we are experiencing some of the same levels of segregation, if not more, in our public, charter, and private schools.   This problem has largely stemmed from the phenomenon called “white flight” in which white families move to the suburbs or placing their children in private schools.  Meanwhile, low-income parents, who are predominantly minority, cannot afford to move and are left behind in the cities.  The result of this migration has been a widened achievement gap among students.

After Graduation, Advocation Should be My Occupation

Back in October, I photographed a future educator during a headshot session.  To my delight, I was commissioned by him once again to do a portrait session for his birthday, and this time he chose to don a suit with a retro-1960’s cut.  We previously set DC’s Union Station as our venue, but as I began to talk to him a little more and hear of his goals during the session, I realized that we needed to step outside of the venue.  So we walked about some of the DC streets in this neighborhood, which was steps away from the US Capitol building.  He shared with me his hopes to one day get his law degree and eventually advocate for the children – what a noble cause.  I can actually think of many men of African or African-American decent that I have seen in education with the goal of moving towards policy creation or child advocacy, like this man, so I was not too surprised.  Rather, I was refreshed by his drive, aspiration, community-focus, and all of those other good things that we do not often hear when speaking of men of African or African-American decent.  I can go on and on about that, but I won’t.  Instead, I will show a few of the stately images that I was able to capture during our session.

Before I show select images, here is my quick PSA: No matter what you find yourself doing, PLEASE make an effort to make a difference in the life of somebody else!

By the way, if you see something you like, don’t forget to leave a comment!

Classic Business

Mover and Shaker

Going Somewhere

Ready to Work

Poised for Business

Happy Hour

Mr. O Takes on Washington

Staying Abreast

Celebrating Dr. King & Mr. Black

A few months ago, I attended a School Reform Town Hall Meeting in DC, and then I went and saw Waiting for Superman, which is a documentary about the American public education system.  Both experiences positively impacted me, and fueled me to continue moving forward on my course to complete my Masters in Education and then move into the classroom as a teacher.  Well, last year, I met a young man, who was then the Student Body President of Howard’s School of Education, and he graciously shared information about my business with others in the School of Education.  From what I could see and have heard since, he was always willing to give, ready to keep people informed, and had a heart to serve.  So, a week before our observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, he asked me to help him out with an event that the organization he works with (Heart of America) was sponsoring.  For me, I did not have to think twice about taking the project on.  I have not been too excited that our observance of Dr. King’s birthday has turned into a day of service because his life involved so much more than volunteering, but I knew this would be a meaningful way to spend this day as I think about where we as a nation have come from.  Anyway, when Mr. Smith told me that this event would also honor one of the students, Anthony Black, featured in the movie Waiting for Superman, I was even more excited about the opportunity because it gave me an opportunity to really show my support of education, literacy, and closing the achievement gap in communities that need it the most.  Below are images from this event that took place in Howard University’s School of Medicine on January 17, 2011.

A Message

The Door Prizes


Mr. Black

The Applause

Mr. Smith

Honored by the Radio Station

Celebrating King

Reading Books

Heart of America

Ms. Payne, An Author…

When I first heard of the final project that we had to do in our Literature for Children and Adolescents class, I knew just how to take our project over the top!  We were asked to create a Math Trail Children’s Book that showed math in nature or other real world settings.  The examples that were shown to us were binders with pages that left much to be desired.  We were given some class time and told that we could use our cell phones to take pictures.  On the first day, we set a local mall as our backdrop, and at this time, I asked to be the group photographer (we would not be using camera photos for the book, believe me the camera makes a huge difference in the quality of your images).  After our pictures and story themes were in place, I suggested that we  use one of my vendors to have this book professionally bound, so that we could have a real hardcover children’s book.  When we presented the book last week, our teacher was absolutely amazed.  She kept looking for proof that we did not make this book or take the photographs, even though I assured her that I am professional photographer, and I regularly design books like these for my clients!  Now we went totally above and beyond what was expected (the place I love to operate at), and for me this meant making time among everything else to “optimize” the photos and do all of the page layouts for this 28-page book – but to see the look on our professor’s face and to know that we raised the standard of expectation was PRICELESS!

This experience was different than the previous books I’d designed for the mere fact that it was text-heavy, which adds another element to the design.  But all in all, it was a great experience.  Who knows, I may be moving in this direction in the near future!  We’ll see how things work out!

Below I have included images from this book.

The Book Cover

The Book

The First Page

The Second Page

The Third Page

The Spine