Ms. Kev Filmore captures national teaching award

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A landscape photo of an abandoned house from Ms. Filmore’s personal project, “Abandoned.” Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore

For 17 years, Convent of the Sacred Heart Upper School photography teacher Ms. Kev Filmore has helped students capture gold and silver national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards with their photos. 
Due to the success of her photography students in the national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers presented Ms. Filmore with an award in May 2016 for her work as an educator of the arts.
“For me, it was really exciting because I have never gotten recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers as a teacher,” Ms. Filmore said.

A landscape photo of an abandoned house from Ms. Filmore's personal project, "Abandoned." Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore
A landscape photo of an abandoned house from Ms. Filmore’s personal project, “Abandoned.”
Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is a nonprofit organization that oversees the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, according to nyc-arts.org. The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are open to students in grades seven through 12 from across the United States and abroad. The competition has 30 different art and writing categories, and it received more than 320,000 submissions in 2016.
At the 2016 Scholastic Awards, seven Sacred Heart photography students won awards in the regional competition, and junior Sammy Clark and Catherine Keating ‘16 proceeded to win silver medals in the national pool. 
The process of preparing student submissions for the Scholastic Awards varies depending on the photograph, but Ms. Filmore always assists students with their photograph’s presentation, cropping and sizing, filter selection, and digital formatting.
When advising a student on which photograph to submit, Ms. Filmore likes to hear from other photography students and faculty members. She also finds it helpful to look at winning submissions from prior years. Other times, the decision to submit a photograph is simply instinctual.
“Sometimes I know right away it’s a great image that sings, that it will definitely get a prize,” Ms. Filmore said. “But I do not pick the students who enter. The student must be motivated to submit their work.”
An alternative digital image from one of Ms. Filmore's personal projects. Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore
An alternative digital image from one of Ms. Filmore’s personal projects.
Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore

In the classroom, Ms. Filmore is passionate about supporting her students’ projects and giving them the confidence they need to produce their art.
“Whether it’s a student who already considers herself an artist, or it’s someone who is taking the class for an art credit, I believe every single person is an artist at birth,” Ms. Filmore said.
In particular, Ms. Filmore appreciates teaching because she learns about the lives of her students and exchanges ideas with them through their photos. 
“My students welcome me into new worlds, and it’s always different and it’s always exciting,” Ms. Filmore said.
Outside of teaching, Ms. Filmore also has an array of personal projects which reflect the diverse artistic interests she pursued in college. While studying at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Ms. Filmore majored in illustration but also explored other areas of art, including drawing and photography. Ms. Filmore’s work includes portrait and landscape photographs, documentary style photographs, and mixed media art, such as a combination of digital photos with drawing.
One of Ms. Filmore’s projects, Bathgate’s Children,” is a series of documentary style photographs exhibited in a handmade foldout book, which gives the viewer an impression of walking along a street.
A flyer for Ms. Filmore's project, Bathgate's Children. Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore
Two portrait photographs from Ms. Filmore’s publication “Bathgate’s Children”
Courtesy of Ms. Kev Filmore

While working on her “Bathgate’s Children” project, Ms. Filmore would drive to the Bronx in the summertime, talk to the neighborhood kids, and capture their playful spirits as she took spontaneous pictures.
While Ms. Filmore enjoys working on her personal projects, she cherishes the opportunity to teach and motivate each of her students to reach her own artistic potential.
On her classroom chalkboard, Ms. Filmore has written a simple phrase: “A place to create for all! You are all born artists. Let yourselves be!”
– Emily Coster, Opinions Editor and Co-Podcast Editor