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Teen takes award-winning journey

Loudonville student’s photograph takes top honors in Nat Geo contest

Fourteen-year-old Jeffrey Hafner Endler's award-winning photograph, which won first place in the National Geographic Kids International Photo Contest's "People" category in the U.S. division.

Fourteen-year-old Jeffrey Hafner Endler's award-winning photograph, which won first place in the National Geographic Kids International Photo Contest's "People" category in the U.S. division. Submitted Photo

— Several other groups have gone on the trip before, but this year was particularly unique because the students had been pen pals with Babati students their age for almost three years and were finally able to meet their long-distance friends.

Over the course of the trip, the WHMS students worked on several projects with the Sinai School, including teaching various subjects like art and spelling in English. The WHMS students gave the Sinai students 50 English words to learn for a spelling bee, and the WHMS students learned the same words in Swahili. They also brought more thank 300 books to form a library, as well as computers to set up a lab, which, according to Cavangh, was the first time the Sinai students had seen computers.

Documenting the journey through photography has always been an integral part of the trip, and professional photographer Chris Martin of Water Power Peace often snaps the photos. This year, he put Endler and his mother, Lise, in charge of taking most of the photos, which helped Endler take his award-winning shot.

“We’ve used photography as a teaching tool to communicate what life is like there,” Cavanagh said.

For the trip, Endler used a Nikon D3000, a camera borrowed from his grandmother. Along with his first place prize, he won a Canon Powershot camera and a copy of several National Geographic books. His photo, along with the other winners, will appear in the May 2013 National Geographic Kids Magazine.

“Both my husband and I are incredibly proud,” Lise Endler said. “How wonderful to see your child inspired through photography, but also by the realization of what the rest of the world and how lucky he is with what he has.”

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