New London Students’ Immigrant Photography Project Honored with Award at State Capitol

April 11, 2018
Formica 2018-04-04 21st Annual Immigrant Day (2 of 4)

Edgar Gonzalez, Jasani Yard, Jose Rivera, Ayanna Fernandez, Prishtina Gashi. Back row: Mike Kuczenski, teacher at the Inter-District School for Arts and Communications, and State Senator Paul Formica.

A group of sixth grade students from the Inter-District School for Arts and Communications in New London received the Angela Andersen Memorial Award on April 4 at the State Capitol. The award recognizes the students’ photography project “Community Faces-Humanizing the Immigrant Label,” and was presented at the 21st Annual Immigration Day in Hartford.

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20), who represents New London in the State Senate, congratulated the students and their teacher Mike Kuczenski, and praised their work at the award ceremony last week.

“These students are so talented and impressive it’s easy to forget they are only in sixth grade,” said Formica. “This project was a truly unique experience for the students, their interview subjects and for anyone who has the privilege of viewing their completed work. It is a very special thing to see so many stories of local immigrants through the eyes of these talented young students. I have great respect and admiration for their teacher, Mike Kuczenski, who created this project and encouraged the students to not only learn about their community and its diversity, but to also figure out a way to communicate all they learned to others. Congratulations to the students for a job well done!”

The student project involved photography, videography, interviews, and website development. The students interviewed 16 local immigrants after working with a Yale professor to develop interview skills and techniques. They also worked with a professional photographer and took photos of the immigrants they interviewed. The photographs displayed at the Capitol each feature a QR code that can be scanned by a mobile device to connect a person with a website where more information about each photograph subject can be found, including their immigration stories and videos.

The Angela Andersen Memorial Award was presented by the Family of Angela Andersen, Judy Wyman Kelly, The American Place at Hartford Public Library.