The Student News Site of Shaker High School

The Shaker Bison

The Student News Site of Shaker High School

The Shaker Bison

The Student News Site of Shaker High School

The Shaker Bison

The Student Experience: A Shaker High School Photo Essay Project



This year, Shaker High School’s Journalism class explored the teenage experience of growing up in our time. They reflected on questions like: “Who are you now?”, “How do you think these extraordinary times have challenged and changed your generation as a whole?”, and “What can you show or tell us that might help explain what it’s like to be a teenager at this moment?”.

Some seniors in Mrs. Eves’ class wish to share their diverse experiences and submitted their essays to the Shaker Bison:



My friend took this picture at a small record store near Albany. As most record stores are nowadays, a lot of people are unaware of the store. Growing up in our now phone-driven generation, we have lost physical things like records and CDs due to Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services. Technology has not just caused the loss of this physical item. Now that we can tell others how we are feeling through a text, real human connection and conversation are dismissed. You see fewer and fewer people buying clothes in stores now that online shopping lets you do it in the comfort of your own home. People even do grocery shopping online. This picture, I hope, will bring back the beauty of the physical world. Physically sorting through each record one by one, holding the delicate vinyl. Our everyday lives are transitioning to the touch of our phones. I just hope that soon all the once-real things we experience don’t disappear behind a screen. 

Tatum Possano, 12






I’ve always felt out of place at school.  Before I had been diagnosed with autism, child-me would rationalize being different from everybody as being non-human, as if I was a ghost or an animal.  I wanted to show this by drawing a non-human, a raccoon sitting in a classroom (I chose a raccoon because I love them),  amongst regular students.  The little friend is sharing their opinion on the time when school had to be online to a regular human student, one who is rather confused/concerned by their inhuman classmate. The questions present on the board also relate to my feelings of isolation, as they reference to the concept of friendships, and how friends would interact in the school setting.


Tallulah Fininen, 12th grade






As the COVID-19 pandemic came to an end and masks became optional at the end of 2022, people began to return to their everyday lives and pleasures. However, due to this dangerous virus, we became thoroughly adjusted to staying in our homes and avoiding any physical contact with people or objects that were believed to be ill or contaminated. We did not want to risk the loss of any more lives, as many of us lost the people that we held closest to our hearts. However, several positives also came out of this two-year nightmare. I believe that we all collectively learned to appreciate the outdoors and the time we have with our loved ones. This piece was taken during the summer of 2023 when lives in America had mostly resumed to a sense of normality. 

The summer sun brings hundreds of people and their families up to the town of Lake George every year to have lunch, spend time on the lake, and so much more. On this day, I was walking around with my family, and for the first time since the beginning of 2020, I felt as if life was such a beautiful and fragile concept. As I looked around me and viewed all the various walks of life all joined together in one vicinity, I saw a sense of community and love. As we grow older, we learn to take fewer things for granted, and at that moment, I felt thankful for my family and the people around me. I believe living through this time as a teenager in high school was extraordinarily difficult regarding virtual assignments, excessive social media use, and more. However, I will be entering college with a new perception of gratitude, appreciation, and acknowledgment of my own strength for utilizing this pandemic to my own advantage. 


Leah Ricci, 12





This photo is kind of a repression of hope, that at the end of all the things you go through, you get older. Growing up can be one of the hardest things you have to do in life. The older you get, the more you miss being younger, but you have to keep moving on. However, there are some perks to getting older, like being able to access stuff you weren’t able to as a kid. The older you get, the more experience you gain, therefore you are always able to improve yourself.  If you are older than other people, you should try to be an example to show them how the world works.

The hope at the end of the road is to achieve your goals in life. Some goals are easy and some are hard, but you should always try to achieve them no matter what. The expectations your parents expect you to meet in life are often crushing. Everyone knows that with age comes wisdom, which you pass down to newer generations of family and people. However, age can be scary because you might not know what you will do next in life. No matter what you face in life, you should always have hope, it can get you out of any tough times that you might ever get into. This photo can also represent overcoming challenges you face in life as you get older. The more you face challenges and overcome them in life, you live and learn (

 The future is never easy to prepare for because you never know what will happen next in life, which is a scary thing to think about. The more you overcome challenges in life, there will always be one more to overcome, but you should always overcome them,no matter how easy or hard they can be. This is a twisty road that can lead in many directions. It can happen in a good or a bad way because every decision you make in life counts no matter how big or small. Life is difficult to go through, but it is possible, so you should always have hope. 


Edward Allen, 12





There was a profound calmness in the air that night. Away from society, with only each other’s company for two weeks amidst trees and a flowing river.

I pointed the lens, took the photo, and put the camera away, joining back in on the melody. I leaned back against my friend [not pictured] and we harmonized horribly, and soon laughter broke out amongst all.

Having taken out the camera on a whim, I had almost forgotten that I brought it. However, I believe my hands wanted to capture the scene washing over me in pleasant waves, just as much as my ears wished to forever remember the song dancing through the trees. 

That camera was the only piece of technology we were allowed to bring with us in a backpack full of gear, and quite frankly I didn’t use it much. I only wanted to savor a moment for later and hoped that the old camera would capture enough light in the dusk to catch the smiling faces of my friends. 

Only after four weeks, finally looking through the photos from the summer, did I happen to find this image. I stared at it for days, reminiscing on the profound happiness I experienced during those two weeks. Incapable o`

unities to truly connect with peers their age without the distraction of responsibilities, technology, or the next great thing. Especially now, my friends and I have little time to truly feel like teenagers in our senior year when we are expected to figure out our futures in such a short period.

We are grown up, but that doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy each other’s company and the slow turn of the world when it feels like the years are flashing by us. Not to mention, being able to experience moments of proximity such as this once more after the isolation of COVID-19 restrictions. 

So it is moments like this, of pure bliss amongst like-minded peers, that teach us how to live, and to enjoy every second of it. 


Solomiia Valihunda, 12

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All The Shaker Bison Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *