On the SUNY Oswego campus recently, dozens of local high school students learned the meaning of the phrase “a picture paints a thousand words” during an Oswego County Academic Youth League competition.
The challenge pitted student teams representing eight Oswego County school districts against one another in a battle of creativity, photography skills and marketing prowess.
The competition, titled “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words,” required the high school students to complete a variety of tasks.
Teams developed a digital photography portfolio composed of seven pictures, students wrote a sonnet to accompany the photos, they vied in a portrait/quote challenge and they wrote a press release to publicize OCAY League.
“We saw a lot of creativity today,” said Mexico OCAY League coach Shannon Bigelow. “Our judges said how impressed they were with the quality of your work. You all did a great job.”
As part of the challenge, students took a photo that represented the meaning of OCAY League and then answered interview questions about their photo.
While some pictures spelled the word “OCAY,” others used objects to symbolize the commitment, intelligence and teamwork that are critical components of the league.
Pointing to her team’s photo, which depicted students interlocking their arms with character traits written on them, Oswego High School senior Nora Culeton said the picture sums up the academic competition perfectly.
“The photo parallels what this league was created to do – promote things like creativity, leadership and teamwork,” said Culeton. “It shows that we’re all working together for a common goal, which is what OCAY League is all about.”
Once all the scores were tallied and the judges provided students with feedback, OCAY League coordinator Dante Ascenzi announced the winners.
The team from Fulton’s G. Ray Bodley High School took first place.
Mexico students took home the silver medal.
Pulaski’s team earned the bronze.
OCAY League was organized in the spring of 1997 with the idea that academics merit a standing comparable to athletics.
Students’ academic skills are challenged and showcased in a wide variety of competitive events that emphasize scholastic excellence, team building, leadership and creativity.
A particular strength of the league is its emphasis on cooperative problem solving.
OCAY League is coordinated through the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation’s gifted and talented program.