Photography student awarded Gold Key

Hunter-Rose Comtois, reporter

Anticipation filled the room as Tiffany Asha proudly walked in the choir room with one student in mind. A senior in the Photography II class, Matthew Cloward, won the gold key award for his pictures of nature.

“I had no thought that I could’ve won it,” Cloward said. “Mrs. Asha walked in and pulled me out of class. She was really excited and said she couldn’t wait to deliver the news, that I was the only one who won it.”

Eight photos were entered with one theme; nature. They ranged from frogs to pearl oyster mushrooms grown from his own garden. Ironically, Cloward almost didn’t get to submit his photos.

“We were submitting our images online the day of the deadline in class,” Cloward said. “The site wasn’t working and I kind of started worrying. Luckily it worked just in time and I was able to enter my pictures.”

Once the entries are submitted online, all the images are sent to Salt Lake City to be judged. The Gold Key award determines who qualifies statewide to go to nationals. If Cloward were to win nationals, he would have received a cash prize and won a trip to New York.

“It would have been nice to win because I think it would be a really great experience,” Cloward said.

Photography wasn’t always apart of Cloward’s life. The “Texas Nature Notebook” project Cloward did in freshman Biology sparked his interest in taking photos of nature.

“Taking the nature pics back then made me appreciate the art of photography,” Cloward said.

A website has been designed for his pictures consisting of around 80 species of birds.

In the future, he plans on traveling to other countries to take pictures.

“I don’t know what I’ll take pictures of in the future,” Cloward says. “But I still want to continue with it, whether it [involves] nature or people.”