Digital Photography Heirloom Project

Ritamen are offered several Fine Arts elective classes. One of these classes is a cutting-edge favorite--Mrs. Robyn Kurnat's Digital Photography class. Recently, Mrs. Kurnat assigned a project that creatively engaged the students in a very unique way and allowed them to learn about their own family histories at the same time. 


At the end of the first semester of the 2015-16 academic year, Mrs. Robyn Kurnat's Digital Photography class was assigned an heirloom project. Students were asked to identify a family heirloom to showcase the students' family histories. 

Students were instructed to talk with and interview family members to get information and ideas about how to choose their heirloom. Once chosen, the students had to use the skills they learned throughout the semester (like staging and taking images of the heirlooms) to successfully complete the project.

The Ritamen were encouraged to use multiple videographer techniques learned in class, including the use of backdrops, lighting, voiceovers and music to tell the story of the family heirlooms. A written paper accompanied all visual presentations.

Take a look at some of the projects...

Sophomore Stephen Luster - Portrait of his father as a young boy.


Junior Jeff Thome - Painting on a wooden piece that belonged to his great grandmother.


Sophomore Malcolm Banks - 40-year old comic books from his father


Sophomore Collin O'Donnell - Pick Axe from his grandfather


Sophomore Victor Martinez - Sculpture from his father


Sophomore Charlie Selke - Celtic Cross from his great grandmother

Excerpts From The Written Reports

1. “When I laid hands on the book I felt all the history that flowed within it...I love the ability to be creative .”  - Sophomore Malcolm Banks

2. “ One thing that I love is that I know that it has been passed down from my great great grandpa, to my great grandpa, to my grandpa, to my Dad, to me and it will continue that way…it has sentimental value and will always have a special history in our family. This is the most valuable to us and this is why I chose to use this as my heirloom.”- Junior Michael Franklin

3. “This is very important to me because it is the only thing that I know of that we pass down through our family.  My dad and I already share many bonds and this can be a new one.” - Sophomore Stephen Luster

4. “I am proud that my dad appreciated different cultures and wanted to learn about them. The sculpture has 6 limbs…one of the hands is raised and facing the viewer. I researched it and found out that it means do not be afraid. Follow the path of righteousness and you will have my blessing...When I see this I always think of the hymn we sing in church, Be Not Afraid. I wish I could have known my Dad but I am grateful that I at least have his sculptures." - Sophomore Victor Martinez

5. “…I hope that someday this important heirloom will be passed down to me so that I will be able to share with my children and my grandchildren to show how important it has been to our family.” - Junior Jeff Thome

6. “This is important to my family history because if my grandpa didn’t have this item then he may not have made the money that he needed to provide for himself and his family.  It represents all the hard work and dedication my grandfather has shown over the years.  I am most proud of how my grandfather never gave up and sacrificed everything for his family.” - Sophomore Collin O'Donnell

7. “Whenever I used to visit her she would always give me amazing advice and I always think about her when I’m in tough situations. She would always give religious answers and would say everything is in god’s hands and say that the only thing they could do was hope.  She would always bring the cross with her and she would always use it when she prayed…she was a very great role model to me” - Sophomore Charlie Selke


Fine Arts is alive and well at St. Rita of Cascia High School, and it's ever-evolving with new technology and creative assignments like this one from Mrs. Kurnat