Redmond, Washington, October 2004

On Saturday, October 4th, 2003, Seattle MESA held its first annual Ninth Grade Retreat at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, WA. The retreat, sponsored by Social Venture Partners and Microsoft, focused on helping students with the transition from middle school to high school by holding workshops on responsibility, leadership, goal setting and teamwork.

I photographed the morning keynote and workshop sessions on behalf of Social Venture Partners. The kids were at first intensely aware of my presence: there was a lot of posing and even outright avoidance of the camera. As the morning unfolded, however, the kids relaxed into their activities and soon forgot about me.

I enjoy working with the Seattle non-profit community. According to the organization's Web site: "The Seattle MESA program began in 1982 in 4 Seattle area high schools. Today there are over 1200 students from 23 elementary, middle, and high schools from all across the greater Seattle area that participate in the program. MESA students are supported with an enhanced curriculum in mathematics, science, and technology as well as field trips to Seattle area businesses and industries, career exploration units, test preparation, Saturday Academies and summer programs through the University of Washington College of Engineering."
 

Above: in one morning workshop, kids have to work together to solve a problem in creative ways, here by designing a structure from toothpicks and marshmallows. Canon EOS-10D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

 

Students arrive at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond for the morning's activities. Canon
EOS-10D, EF 16-35 f/2.8L.

 

A young man listens intently during one morning session. Canon EOS-10D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

 

Local business leader Skip Rowland sets the tone with an inspirational
keynote address. Canon E0S-10D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

 

There were times for lighter moments during the opening sessions. Canon EOS-10D, EF-70-200 f/2.8L IS.

 

Microsoft general manager of Pac West district sales, Patricia Ryan, opened the workshops with a
welcome message and an inspirational talk. Canon  EOS-10D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

 

Essential foodstuffs were in evidence. Canon EOS-10D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS.