Gergő Major: NSPA Photojournalist of the Year portfolio

Dear judges,

My name is Gergő Major, and I am thrilled to apply for the Photojournalist of the Year award. As a junior at McCallum High School, I have had the incredible opportunity to explore the world of digital media, and it has had a profound impact on my contribution to our school newspaper and social media platforms.

This year has been a whirlwind of diverse and vibrant assignments that have allowed me to showcase my passion for photography. From capturing the exuberant school spirit at pep rallies, school assemblies and sports games to freezing the captivating moments of theatre performances, I have been immersed in a colorful tapestry of events. Each assignment brought its unique set of challenges and rewards, and I embraced them wholeheartedly.

One aspect that I particularly enjoyed was the opportunity to explore different themes in my photography. From documenting the intensity and emotions of a fire academy class skill day to capturing the emotions of a campus walkout to protest the state government’s failure to enact substantive gun control reform, I learned to tell stories through my images, transcending language barriers. I firmly believe that a photograph has the power to speak volumes, and it was a privilege to use my camera lens to convey important messages.

Among the highlights of my journey this year was the chance to photograph the Lewis Capaldi concert. Immersed in the pulsating energy of the crowd, I strived to capture the raw emotions and the magic of the moment. The experience taught me the importance of anticipation and timing, and I discovered new ways to freeze fleeting moments in time.

Additionally, this year’s experiences extended beyond the realm of photography. Through my involvement with the school newspaper, I learned the intricacies of writing stories, crafting engaging captions, and sharing thoughtful reviews. As English is not my native language, these skills have been invaluable in overcoming language barriers and expressing myself more effectively.

In conclusion, my journey as a photojournalist this year has been one of growth, learning, and unforgettable experiences. Through digital media, I have been able to make a meaningful contribution to our school newspaper and social media platforms, capturing the essence of our vibrant community. I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and the invaluable lessons I have learned along the journey.

Thank you for considering my application for the Photojournalist of the Year award. I am excited about the possibility of sharing my work with a broader audience and continuing to grow as a visual storyteller.


Gergő Major

No. 1

Black Girl Magic contest winner senior Sahara Cumberbatch stands in front of the “Black Girl Magic” billboard in the central hallway. She received her award from Tonya Moore on March 6 for the submission of her piece, “Women of Light and Color.” The contest was organized as part of the Black History Month event series at McCallum with the intention of highlighting Black female artists. Cumberbatch, won a coffee mug along with a $25 gift card. Cumberbatch’s winning submission was an art piece depicting a young Black woman empowered by her individuality. “I entered this piece because the inspiration was my identity as a Black girl, and because of that, the parts of me that make me stand out physically for most of my classmates,” she said. Cumberbatch hopes her piece will inspire confidence in embracing differences and emphasize the message that you don’t have to change the things that make you unique. “This year as a senior art major all my artworks have to connect in some way,” she said. “I’ve been exploring the struggles I faced with myself at times that up until now I usually try to ignore Cumberbatch viewed the contest as an opportunity to embrace her identity and show appreciation for Black History Month. She is especially thankful to contest organizer Tonya Moore, Students of Color Alliance sponsor, for encouraging her to submit her artwork to the contest. “Ms. Moore said that I should enter one of my art pieces. Because I’m a major, she thought It would be good to have one of my works,” she said. “I appreciate the chance for Black people and Black culture to be celebrated. Seeing the different submissions makes me smile whenever I walk in the hallways.” Photo by Gergó Major.

In this picture we see a triumphant girl posing for a portrait, exuding joy and excitement. The photograph commemorates her victory in an art contest, showcasing her beaming expression and radiating poise and confidence. This image captures the essence of her success, a remarkable achievement deserving of recognition in the newspaper.

No. 2

SCOTTS FREE: At the Fourth Annual McCallum Quinceañera on Saturday in the cafeteria, freshman Adrina Scott dances with her family and friends. “At quinceañeras they have a dance for you with your dad, and then a dance for you and your mom,” Scott said. With two daughters participating, Scott’s parents had to figure out how to split their time between their daughters. “My friend’s parents also have two girls,” Scott said. “Obviously you can’t dance with your dad at the same time as your sister. So, we all kind of just got together and all danced together.” For Scott, the quinceañera was a result of lots of preparation at hard work. “There was a lot of practice that we had to do during lunches and during fit,” Scott said. “Sometimes that would get a little stressful because you know, it’s lunch. You kind of want to hand with friends, but I think it all worked out really well.” Part of the preparations that Scott loved was getting to try on the dresses. “Basically all the dresses that we had were rentals,” Scott said. “We had to go try on the dresses, and it was fun to have that experience to go get the dress and try it on. You just felt so special.” The McCallum Quinceañera is an important memory of Scott’s life. “I think it’s just such a fun tradition in the Hispanic culture,” Scott said. “I got to dance with my family which was special.” Photo by Gergő Major.

In the second picture, it is my first quinceañera, and I am thrilled to be part of this vibrant Spanish cultural event. The photograph captures a moment of immense joy as the extended family comes together to dance and celebrate, marking the significant milestone of their daughters’ coming of age. Being immersed in this celebration has allowed me to fully embrace and appreciate the rich traditions and festive spirit of the quinceañera, making it a memorable experience for me.

No. 3

SETTING THE STAGE: Senior Lauren Ryan-Holt (Leading Player) welcomes the audience in the show’s opening number, ‘Magic to Do.’  As a play within a play, Pippin has many layers to it, including the opening number which is performed as if the cast members were arriving at rehearsal and setting up for the top of the show. “It’s the cast’s musical bait to the audience,” Ryan-Holt said. “We’re luring them into the production we’re about to put on. We describe the journey and all the magical, fantastic things that will take place along the way. We literally set the stage for both the show and the audience’s expectations.” Ryan-Holt opens the number and leads the other ensemble members until the song turns into a fully choreographed number. However, for Ryan-Holt, the opening seductive chords are her favorite part. “There’s just something so mystical and enticing about how it sounds,” Ryan-Holt said. “It’s the one part where you can feel the full focus of the audience.” Photo by Gergő Major.

In the third picture, taken during my first theatre performance of “Pippin” at McCallum, we witness a captivating storyteller gracing the stage. The image encapsulates the essence of the remarkable beginning of our theatrical journey. It symbolizes the transformative power of storytelling and the awe-inspiring moments that unfold on the stage, leaving an indelible mark on our theater experience.

No. 4

TAKING ACTION: Junior Zephan Mayeda leans against a tree during the walkout holding a sign reading “bullets aren’t school supplies.” He participated in the walkout to protest against the lack of gun protection in the US and draw attention to the statewide protest. “Children are dying due to government’s apathy and corporate lobbying against any action of any kind,” Mayeda said. Mayeda was disappointed in the lack of organization that came with the protest, but still participated. “Better something than nothing,” he said. Mayeda offered what he would love to see at the walkout.  “I would have loved to see marching, chants, speeches, lists of phone numbers to call senators, names pictures and birthdays of the victims, flyers promoting the protest days weeks or months even in advance, mass absences, an actual walkout for those who can’t not go to school that isn’t just 20 mins of sitting,” Mayeda said. Although he was underwhelmed, Mayeda appreciated the symbolism. “I think it held some importance in regards to symbolic gestures,” Mayeda said. Photo by Gergő Major.

In the fourth picture, taken during a recent gun law walkout at our school and across the state of Texas, a student lies on the ground, holding a sign advocating for change. The image captures a powerful moment as everyone around him joins in, also kneeling on the ground, silently showing their support for stronger gun laws. It serves as a poignant reminder of the collective effort to bring about meaningful reform and ensure the safety of our communities.

No. 5

During his captivating concert in Austin, Texas on May 8, Lewis Capaldi delighted the audience with an unexpected interaction. As the music filled the air, Capaldi spotted a group of enthusiastic fans watching the show from a nearby parking lot. With a mischievous grin, he playfully exclaimed, “F*cking freeloading bastards!” The crowd erupted in laughter, understanding the lighthearted nature of his comment. In a heartwarming twist, the concert-goers shouted “f*ck you” back to the fans in the parking lot, fostering a unique sense of camaraderie and shared joy. This memorable moment exemplified the inclusive and playful spirit of a Lewis Capaldi concert, creating an unforgettable experience for all in attendance. Photo by Gergő Major.

In the fifth picture, taken during Lewis Capaldi’s recent visit to Austin, Texas from Scotland, we see the renowned singer, who happens to be one of my personal favorites. It was an absolute pleasure to capture his image and have the opportunity to write a review about his new album and mesmerizing performance in the United States. The photograph encapsulates the excitement and admiration felt in witnessing an artist of his caliber bringing his music to a new audience.