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Toll Gate students make history in front of lens
Warwick Beacon photo by Kim Kalunian
CHARACTER: Sean Parker poses for photographer Keith Jochim while his aid, Pat Malachowski, looks on. Parker played the role of literary character Oliver Twist. He even had a British accent.

Earlier this year, Toll Gate High School was one of two schools in Warwick to receive a VSA Arts Grant to promote the importance of arts education, especially for special education students. Toll Gate used the money to facilitate a photography project, bringing in professional photographer Keith Jochim to take photos of students. The students first researched various historical events and people and put together projects and costumes for their photo shoots yesterday.

Sean Parker, a special education student and rising senior, researched literary character Oliver Twist. He proudly displayed a poster showing Twist in his photos.

“This is a brilliant experience,” he said in his best English accent.

About 50 students from various art, photography and special education classes participated in the project.

Jochim said he was delighted to teach the students about various types of lighting and photography techniques that made the photos look like they were from the 1930s or ’40s.

“It’s just been a joy,” he said. “I’m very pleased about the participation. The students really got involved.”

Patricia Huntington, the arts teacher at Toll Gate that oversaw the project, said it’s about reinforcing the value of arts in schools.

“It’s proving the arts are important,” she said. “It’s combining history and the arts.”

Once completed the photos will be exhibited in Toll Gate and then in the Department of Education. Printmakers is donating all of the prints.

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