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Apr 10 2019

March Madness Engages Johns Island Students

By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Sr. Staff Writer

Students from St. Johns High School enjoying the March Madness exhibit at the Johns Island Library. (Photo by Sylvia Bacon).

The Kiawah Island Photography Club has been reaching out to Johns Island schools for the past 7 years. They’ve had more luck some years than others, as different administrations were more/less receptive to the group taking pictures of their students. Club members took pictures of the 2012 and 2103 Proms at St. Johns High School, followed by the last two years of sporting events. These photos and others were on display at the Johns Island Library for the month of March in a show appropriately titled March Madness.

Johns Island school administrators and athletic directors seem to be warming to the idea of celebrating their kids, and photo club members seem equally motivated to continue their labor of love.

“The excitement and happiness on the faces of the students and parents is so gratifying [to watch] when they see the pictures,” said club member Sylvia Bacon. The reward behind her observation is why photo club members care enough to spend time taking pictures and making posters and books of school events.

Dave Pumphrey agrees with Bacon adding, “… The opportunity to photograph local games gives me a chance to provide something tangible for the students and improve my skills. [I] also learned to dodge charging football players.”

Photo club member Shauneen Hutchinson wove both of her colleague’s comments together saying, “I think we feel it is important to give back to our local community and to be involved with all the people with whom we share a zip code. We honestly find that the time we spend on these projects helps improve our photographic skills, but even more importantly, we have so much fun with the students.”

Don Burgeson, Sue Corcoran, Gretchen Gross, Linda Albus, Renee Black, and Jack Kotz also contributed to the March Madness exhibit, but sports aren’t the only component of their outreach. The group collaborated to produce the book, John’s Island: A Moment in time – Pictorial history of Johns Island. They donated copies to all area schools and the Johns Island Library. The project was expensive but the photo club managed to cover costs, and even make a donation to the Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic. Their projects typically don’t make a profit, however.

Poster-izing their work is expensive, but Kiawah Cares has jumped in to defray the cost of the projects, making participation all the more rewarding. If you have a camera, are willing to travel, and want to give back to the community while having fun, the Kiawah Island Photography Club may be the answer.

March Madness may be over, but there are proms coming up and it won’t be long until fall sports ramp up, so be on the lookout for the Kiawah Island Photography Club’s next exhibit. For more information, email Shauneen Hutchinson at, or Jack Kotz at

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