by Dennis Dalman – email@example.com
Lydia Anderson’s parents had to play hush-hush around her for weeks and keep their lips zipped to make sure they wouldn’t spill the beans.
What they knew –but Lydia didn’t – is that she had won first place in the national “Image Maker Photo Contest” sponsored by the local Boys and Girls Club and its Kidstop programs. Her parents, Jason and Gina of St. Joseph, had to keep it a secret so Lydia would be surprised at a special presentation Feb. 28 at the Food Court in Crossroads Center. And surprised she was! She was very pleased and honored to get such an award.
Lydia is a fifth-grader at Sartell Middle School.
What is unusual and remarkable is that last year Lydia’s brother, Lance, also won first place in the same national photo contest, when he was a second-grader at Pine Meadow Elementary School. One day, Lance was stunned to speechlessness when teachers led him into a gymnasium filled with students who burst out clapping and cheering. The students had been tipped off earlier for the sake of the surprise. They cheered again when Lance learned shortly after entering the gymnasium that he’d won first place for his photo of two entwined trees he took during a family trip to Ontario, Canada.
Lydia entered her winning photo last year, but because of some confusion about entrants in the national contest, it took a long time for the results to be announced to parents.
For her category, Lydia chose essay-photo, which required her to write a short essay on the theme of “My Future Looks Bright” and to submit, along with the essay, a photo that evokes that theme.
For her photo, Lydia submitted one she took in the summer of 2011 while sitting in an apple tree at the Willmar home of grandparents Gene and Gloria Hippe. On that summer day, Lydia noticed her shadow was on the ground beneath the apple tree. She arranged herself so that one of her shadow hands on the ground looked as if it was just about to pick an apple. Then, using one hand, she snapped the photo, showing part of the tree branches and the shadow hand ready to pluck the apple.
In her essay, Lydia stated the apple symbolizes her happy future while the shadow evokes the uncertainty of life on her way to her goal. She concluded her essay with confidence — that despite uncertainties she is determined to reach that goal.
Besides her enjoyment of photography, Lydia also likes art, soccer and running. A newer hobby is her learning how to hunt with her father.
Lydia’s parents and her brother are all proud of her first-place honor.
“Oh, my goodness,” said her mother. “She was very creative in how she designed and set up that photo before she took it.”
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.