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Photo Essay Examples Students Of The World

McDonogh Goes to Disney World (Students)

The McDonogh Singers, led by Middle School Choral Director Suzanne Eldridge, traveled to Orlando, Florida on February 3 to perform and take workshops at Disney World. The trip included two workshops led by Disney performers, choreographers, and actors. The first workshop, "Disney Sings," gave students the ability to record a vocal track to Disney's The Lion King. The second workshop, "Disney's Broadway Magic," took students through the process of producing a Disney musical, from auditioning, to casting, to staging a scene and song from Tangled. Additionally, the Singers showcased their talent in a 30-minute performance for an international audience at Disney Springs.


Khanyi is from Phillipi, one of the most dangerous townships in Cape Town. It is an area that has one of the highest murder rates in the country, and where gang violence and drug abuse are rampant. Many families in the area face acute poverty and social challenges; dropping out of school is common. Pupils at Peak View high school, where Khanyi studies, often repeat grades in order to get to the final year of school, which is seen a success in itself, whether or not a student passes their final exams.

  • Khanyi is very excited to finish school as she wants to travel and experience different places.

For these students, attending the matric (short for matriculation) ball represents a huge achievement. While the night gives them a chance to feel glamorous and socialise with their friends and teachers, it also signifies their success in reaching their final year of school, and of having overcome odds that were stacked against them.

  • Khanyi takes pride in her uniform and appearance when attending school. She says since starting at Peak View, she has wanted to prove she is a model student.

In the time I spent with Khanyi, I was struck by her calm dignity and confident selfhood as an emerging young woman, and I am grateful that she allowed me access to these pivotal moments in her life. Working with her became an increasingly collaborative process, as she had a very clear sense of the self she wanted to project as she prepared for her final exams and the dance – both landmark moments in her life.

This project is part of my ongoing work exploring notions of beauty, physical appearances, empowerment and femininity. Despite the many difficulties she and her classmates face, my intent here is to communicate her pride and self-assurance as an empowered and dignified individual.

My parents have been very supportive. They taught me to have a good work ethic. They told me, “After matric, you have to stand on your own, you have to find something to do, and if you’re not at school, you’re going to have to work. So, if you’re gonna stay under our roof, you have to do something.” They are really focused, and they want the best for us, so now, whatever they do, we take after them. They are role models for me. They are role models in terms of the way they try to show me the way … They show me that after school, life is gonna be like this, so you’re going to have to be focused, and go for what you want.

My parents are setting an example for other people in the community

  • Khanyi with her mum and stepdad, Thandiswa and Ayanda Mtulu. Below: Studying at home, and with her close schoolfriend, Yamkela
  • Khanyi and Yamkela Gaqelo, one of her best friends at Peak View, and right, with mum, Thandiswa.

I can say, like when I look around me, that I have a different support from my parents than some other families. Like, the way I am looking at our family, they are focused. They don’t want us to end up in the streets like some other people. They are also setting an example for some other people in the community. This is what you should do for your children, so I can say they are very supportive … In a lot of families, you don’t get that amount of support.

From us, they expect us to do well. People respect them in our community.

  • Khanyi checks her reflection after having false lashes put in, and gets diamantes added to her nails at a salon.

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