A picture is worth a thousand words. Photography documents the most cherished moments in a person’s life and can reproduce those moments vividly, as if entering a time machine at any given moment. Looking at photos as time goes by, it’s easy to become immersed in memories. Photography creates memories, teaches the value of precious moments, and stores memories within.
Each year, the Lawrenceville school community convenes for a photo, to be featured in the yearbook to serve as a memento of each year’s student body. Just as every year is new, this year’s photo came with its own special changes. In past years, the All-School photo was taken on the bleachers of the football field behind the Kirby Math and Science Center. However, due to the rebuilding of the old football field the photo was relocated to the Bowl this year. On September 20, students gathered together in the center of two lower houses one by one. Students stood in the shape of a semicircle in front of two cameras installed high up. Students gathered by House, with the front row raising their House flags proudly. The colorful array of flags in various designs were gathered together to present the individuality and diverse identities of the Lawrenceville community. In order to more accurately capture all the students and teachers, the two cameras took nine individual pictures. As if the sky knew it was a special day, the weather was sunny and perfect after a few days of cloudy weather. The wonderful weather inspired the wonder of a good omen: that the Class of ’23 will prosper just like the sun shining down on the sprouts, inciting them to grow well. It was a brief moment, but the unity of Lawrenceville bonded the community together firmly. What did other students think? Here are some opinions:
Victor Mongon ’26, recalls that the All-School photo “was a great experience to assemble the School and show what our community looks like.” He added that “usually, people don't see the entire school body, especially [the II Formers], [so the photo] gives a better idea of how vast and interesting our community is. The House flags represent the rich culture and history of Lawrenceville, [while] the division brought by Houses also shows our [smaller] communities [that] reassemble and help one another. It, quite literally, gives us the full picture of our school and community.”
Not only did the II Formers enjoy this experience. Samuel Huh ’23 thinks that “the school photo is a good way to indicate the beginning of a new school year with the absence of the graduated class, with that gap being filled with the [II Form] class. Raking a picture of the new student community symbolizes that a new school year with a new student body has officially begun.” He also commented on the new school photo location, stating that “the Bowl is also symbolically where life on campus starts, [so] taking the photo there [is especially] meaningful.”
Kyle Park ’23, commented on the importance of the school photo’s tradition, and what it means to II Formers and V Formers: “The school photo marks the beginning of the school year. For the newcomers, it’s a great moment to feel Lawrenceville’s sense of unity and community. For the [V Form], it’s a moment to reflect on how much we have grown and the exciting avenues ahead of us.” He particularly enjoyed the V Form photo, as he got to “socialize with the entire grade, catch up with people [he] hadn’t talked to for a while, and exchange memories from [their] first year at Lawrenceville.”
Despite the positive reviews, however, several students wished the School had organized some aspects of the event differently. Huh thinks it’s “too bad” that they didn’t get to do the V Form run from one side to the other for the photo this year, a tradition for the graduating class.
Luke Park ’24 commented that this year’s photo was “somewhat more disorganized,” as he felt like it was “something to get out of the way, as opposed to something truly representative of the Lawrenceville community.” He especially felt disappointmented with the placement of students in the photo: “I can stand with my Housemates in Woodhull, but I don’t know if a photo can capture the friendships I’ve formed in the House over the years,” he said.
All of these thoughts, whether positive or negative, stem from a desire to make better memories with the community and with the people they cherish. The photo’s new structure and organization brought out diverse opinions from several students, but the pride of the community and the love of school is prevalent for everyone.
Inevitably, there are difficult moments during the year, but in photos, all that is apparent is happiness, and the smiles in the photos allow the viewer to become infected with that feeling by reliving the memory. When looking back at the photo, it feels like nothing has changed, but the community is always changing, with different people joining every year. How will the community look next year?
Some students close their eyes, others wince, or even look elsewhere when the shutter clicks. Every face is different, every facial expression is different, and every individual is different, but Lawrentians are, and always will be, ONE.