What does beauty mean to you? That was the question posed by Upper School Photography Teacher Kendall Davis and Upper School Counselor Kathy Roemer for a project titled “BEAUTY.” The powerful exhibition of photography that resulted from this endeavor was on display in the Bass Upper School Gallery February 24 through March 10.
Roemer and Davis teamed up for the project, which they created last summer, with the hope of educating students about body image, media, mental health and disordered eating. Together, Roemer and Davis charged 39 Upper School photography students to share their perception of beauty in today’s social media, selfie-obsessed society.
Roemer used the project as an opportunity to connect with the students on a different level. She brought in Dr. Carla Garber, a practical, interactive solution-based therapist, who presented to all Upper School students during announcements. She also shared a variety of videos created for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, as well as pamphlets and brochures from The Elisa Project, which focuses on disordered eating, depression and anxiety.
“Students today are under a lot of pressure at school and socially,” Roemer said. “Kids need information in order to look out for one another and possibly even see an issue in themselves. This project at Fort Worth Country Day sparks a conversation.”
For Davis, the project was a way for her to help her colleague get into the classroom and get to know students on a different level. From an artist’s standpoint, Davis spent time sharing with students how beauty is represented in the history of art.
After all the conversation and teaching, it was time for the students to unearth what beauty means to them. Along with three or four images, students were asked to submit an Artist’s Statement. Roemer returned to the classroom for the image critiques and learned about the process of creating a show.
“While the students learned a great deal through this project, I believe the big winner is Kathy,” Davis said. “In this project, she made real-world connections with students. She is so approachable and easy to talk to. I think the students and Kathy will benefit from these new relationships.”
Because of BEAUTY, Jonathen Wilks ’17 decided to use this project as his AP concentration. He will submit a portfolio of work at the end of the year that reflects what he has learned. His idea of beauty: hands.
Some hands he has featured include those of Shaen McKnight, Upper School Chemistry Teacher; Lauren Cunningham, Upper School Painting and Drawing Teacher; Brad Philipson, Assistant Head of School for Academics; Davis; and his friends. At the end of the academic year, Wilks' portfolio will consist of 12 carefully chosen photos.
“Hands are interesting to me, and they tell a story,” Wilks said. “They can show emotion; we use our hands to talk; and they can show what kinds of work we do. For example, a person who does manual labor will have more callouses compared to a scholar.
“Hands can convey the truth,” Wilks continues. “When you look more deeply, there is honesty in hands.”
Upper School students who participated in the BEAUTY exhibition were:
Meredith Berry ’17 
Carly Bromstead ’19  
Whitney Bruhl ’18  
Anna Brittan Brumley ’19  
Merrill Bumstead ’20     
Katie Bynum ’20
Kenzi Carter ’20
Molly Cassady ’18  
Camille Diemer ’20
JaneAnn Disney ’19
Rachel Ellman ’19
Bailey Evans ’17
Mia Fleischer ’20
Savannah Grammer ’17
Eden Harveson ’19
Logan Harvison ’19
Sarah Hillebrecht ’20
Harriette Hull ’18
Elle Hurst ’19
Sydney Johnson ’18
Caden Jones ’20
Colbi Jordan ’18
Izzy Juliao ’20
Megan Lammons ’19
William Marquis-Cartier ’18
Brenden McCormack ’18
Erinn Miller ’17
Allison Moore ’20
Sophie Moten ’19
Kate Nolan ’17
Brett Nowlin ’20
Brendan O’Connell ’18 
Alexis Onuscheck ’18  
Lily Peters ’18
Hayden Relyea ’20    
Sarah Sawyer ’17
Jessica Schaffer ’19
Grace Wagner ’19
Jonathen Wilks ’17
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Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a K-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.