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Pulitzer Center Update October 10, 2017

Celebrating the 2nd Annual DCPS Study Abroad Photography Contest

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The Pulitzer Center is proud to partner with the Everyday Africa initiative and its founders, and...

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On Sept. 26, 19 middle and high school students from across District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) gathered with their families at the Pulitzer Center to have their work celebrated at a special reception.

These students were finalists from the 2nd installment of the DCPS Study Abroad Photo Contest, which was designed by Pulitzer Center and the Global Studies department at DCPS to celebrate photography by students participating in the DCPS Study Abroad program. The program, which is now entering its third year, provides 8th and 11th grade students in DCPS the opportunity to travel locally and abroad. This year, nearly 400 students traveled abroad to over one dozen cities to study language and culture. Before their departure at the beginning of the summer, students met with Pulitzer Center staff and journalists to review techniques for  taking captivating photographs and pairing them with informative and insightful captions. The curriculum utilizes reporting from Pulitzer Center-supported projects like the Out of Eden Walk and Everyday Africa.

Upon returning from their study abroad locations, students were then challenged to submit some of the photographs they took, and the meaningful captions that accompany them, to the Pulitzer Center for consideration. The Pulitzer Center received an increase in submissions from last year, but was able to narrow the submissions down to 27 finalists.

At the reception for finalists, students connected with other peers who had studied abroad and shared the thought processes and experiences behind their photographs. Students then heard from photojournalist Peter DiCampo, co-founder of the viral Instagram feed Everyday Africa. During his presentation, students learned that DiCampo also discovered photojournalism as a study abroad participant. DiCampo described how he was able to transform his experiences into powerful photos that show the varied experiences of people within a nation beyond the sensational headlines and labels that are usually assigned to them. These experiences combined with his work as a photojournalist led to him co-create the Everyday Africa Instagram feed, which is dedicated to depicting everyday life in the continent.

This concept of revealing the different realities and experiences to the viewer resonated with participants like Duke Ellington School of the Arts student Ahmad Allen, who studied abroad in France. While in France, Allen took a picture that focused on a toy Eiffel Tower while the real Eiffel Tower was depicted out of focus a few feet behind. This purposeful arrangement and his caption, which read, "Sometimes we waste time studying inauthentic things, not realizing we have the work right in front of us," allowed Allen to emphasize to his audience that, "not everything we see is what we should believe in." During the reception he gave more background on his photo and said, "We spend so much time looking at the fake things and not really enjoying the realness of the moment."

Allen's work, and the exceptional work of 10 of the finalists, can be found in the slideshow above this article. Below are the names of all 27 finalists, who were selected by Pulitzer Center staff and their work can be viewed here.

2017 DCPS Study Abroad Photography Contest Finalists:

Troy Williams, Dunbar HS


Anthony Robinson, Duke Ellington School of the Arts


Giullo Lacoviello

La-Mancha, Spain

Ally Han, School without Walls


Liam Kennedy, Alice Deal MS

Paris, France

Ahmad Allen, Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Paris, France

Dearra Hart, Eastern Senior HS


Perpetua Nkem, Bell Multicultural HS


Damaris Medina, District of Columbia International

Quito, Ecuador

Sydney Hill, McKinley Technology HS

Barcelona, Spain

Emilia Majersik, Wilson HS


Nakya Carethers, Duke Ellington School of the Arts


Ying Chen, School without Walls


Sierra Lewter, Benjamin Banneker Academic HS


Betelhem Assefa, McKinley Technology HS


Dwayne Fralin, Duke Ellington School of the Arts


Dianna Lazo, McKinley Tech HS


Kendall Barratt, Duke Ellington School of the Arts


Ziaire Beckham, Woodrow Wilson HS

Chendu, China

Nishi Mehta, Hardy MS


Lamrot Jinfessa, Raymond Education Campus


Michelle Vasquez, Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Barcelona, Spain

Dorothy Francis, Duke Ellington School of the Arts


Ray Vincent De Jesus, Benjamin Banneker Academic HS

New York

Kaniz Fatema, Duke Ellington School of the Arts

National Harbor

Amani Green, Thurgood Marshall Academy

Dominican Republic

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