Wyoming — In his school photo, seventh-grader Jaron Shepard smiles big, the backdrop a serene mountain scene. Seventh-grader V.J. Coon wears a Hawaiian shirt to match the tropical scene behind him, and first-grader Zaydin Witt strikes a muscle-man pose in front of a tranquil nature setting.
The backgrounds are different, but each student had a familiar face behind the camera: their principal, Al Vigh.
Vigh is director and principal of the Wyoming Regional Center, which currently enrolls 43 students in grades kindergarten through eight who have special needs from Wyoming, Byron Center, Grandville, Kelloggsville, Godwin Heights and Godfrey-Lee. This fall, he volunteered to take all of his students’ school pictures.
Vigh was having difficulty scheduling a time with an outside photography company when he realized the opportunity to fill a need. A hobbyist photographer, Vigh said only about 20% of his school parents usually order school photos; a major reason many don’t buy them is the cost of photo packages.
“Finally, I said, I will bring in my stuff and do it myself.”
Vigh set up his Nikon camera, speed lights and tripod in front of a Clevertouch Board, which he used for different backdrops. Students came in ready with their smiles and had Vigh photograph them one by one.
“It made me feel good….it was nice of him,” said Jaron. “He made sure we were all OK with our hair. We took our masks off and smiled and we posed for the camera!”
Vigh gave all parents flash drives with their child’s photos for easy printing.
“After I did this, I got these great comments from parents, like, ‘I can run to (a store) and get an 8-by-10 for $2,’” he said. “I got great feedback and a lot of gracious comments.”