Having taught Kindergarten for over 30 years, even teaching the children of her former students, Anna Sanders is a Y.E. Smith veteran. Within a school containing a broad range of heritages, Ms. Sanders' 22-person class is a microcosm of the diverse Y.E. Smith student population. Even though they are young, each student has a distinct, vibrant personality to add to the mixing pot that is Ms. Sanders' class. Their love for Ms. Sanders and their energetic and explorative nature creates a learning environment that that is firm, yet loving. Serious, yet playful. Structured, yet spontaneous.
Getting to know Ms. Sanders and her class was an honor, and the students inspired me more than they will ever know. Their joyous optimism kept me motivated to complete this project; at times when I was not in the mood to shoot pictures or felt overwhelmed with work, knowing that I would get to see their faces light up when I entered the classroom motivated me to continually go back.
I would like to thank Ms. Sanders, her Teaching Assistant, and all of the other staff for allowing me into the classroom and making me feel welcome at Y.E. Smith throughout the duration of this project. This experience has helped me to grow as both a photographer and a person, and as a freshman, I could not have selected a better time to embark upon this learning opportunity. Spending time at Y.E. Smith has been a unique and unforgettable start to my four years at Duke. Thank you, Y.E. Smith, and go Tigers!