Drawing With Light
Lily Miller '20

An Independent Study Especially tailored for senior Kiarra Jernagin helps her win a scholarship

If you walked down the hallway that is squeezed between the courtyard and the auditorium, during third period and took a right, you would most likely find Kiarra Jernagin crouched on the ground posing in front of a camera lens taking one of her self-portraits. 

But it wasn’t always this way.

Despite her creative flair, it wasn’t until Kiarra came to Timothy that she really began to explore her interests in the arts. Kiarra Jernagin, a senior, first transferred to Timothy second semester of her sophomore year and she fit right into Timothy’s creative community. It was here that Kiarra was first given the chance to discover and pursue her interest in the arts, specifically photography. 

It didn’t take long for photography teacher, Mr. Michael VanDerAa to notice that she was a natural behind the camera. He quickly introduced her to the AFA, The Alliance of Fine Arts annual student scholarship program. 

The AFA promotes and supports young artists with an emphasis on creativity and originality through scholarships. With Mr. VanDerAa’s urging, she agreed to submit six of her darkroom pieces, including many of her self-portraits. She didn’t really think much of it, until she later received news that the AFA had awarded her a scholarship. 

I enjoy the suspense of developing a photo in the darkroom.

After finishing Photography 1 and 2, Kiarra wanted to continue to pursue photography, especially in the darkroom. “I really like doing film photography because of the experiment,” she says. “That’s why I liked taking these photos and was really thankful for the scholarship, because when it comes to the darkroom, you never know what you’re going to get. I enjoy the suspense of when I develop the photo if it’s going to turn out right.”

An independent study in the darkroom was individually-customized for Kiarra. She worked one-on-one under the thoughtful guidance of Mr. John Harkema, the darkroom photography instructor. 

“Kiarra is full of enthusiasm and creativity. She is a delight to work with,” Mr. Harkema says. 

After graduation, Kiarra will be carrying her enthusiasm and creativity to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to purse her love of the arts with a major in film. 

 “Going to Timothy has opened up my creativity,” Kiarra says. “Before I came here, I was creative but I wasn’t as creative as I could be. Timothy has definitely brought that out of me.” 

Now, thanks to the nurturing support of her teachers, Kiarra has not only discovered that she has a passion for photography, but that she can have a future in it.

  • arts