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Amity Region 5 High School Students Preserve Hundreds of Photos for Hurricane Victims

February 14, 2023
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Amity Region 5 High School Students Preserve Hundreds of Photos for Hurricane Victims
These photos are some of the only possessions people have after massive destruction to their lives.

Amity High School photography students have been involved in q community service photography project that has drawn national attention.  The project involves using state-of- the- art technology they learned in school to preserve photos from Hurricane Ian (Florida) victims.

The project was conceptualized and led by long-time photographer and teacher Lisa Toto who has been a teacher for 27 years.  She enlisted 30-35 students who have painstakingly restored 100 family photos for 10 weeks.  This was a “labor of love” of the students who, in class, learned to perfect the technology to ensure they preserve these life memories.

Toto saw Kowalcyzk on a “World News Tonight” segment with David Muir and reached out to see if she can support the efforts.  She has been a long- time photographic storyteller helping to shed light on importance of photo perservation.  Now she tries to pass that authentic experience to her students who are currently working to restore memories for hundreds of families with family portraits as a way to ensure moments are preserved.

Toto and students will deliver these photos to Krista Kowalczyk, a photographer from Fort Meyers, Florida who, along with “Operation Photo Rescue” project, has been salvaging family heirloom photos of Hurricane Ian victims.  Photos were severely damaged by water and sewage and close to permanently destroyed by this natural disaster.  According to ScanMyPhotos News, “billions of photos are destroyed each year.”

As a result of Toto’s leadership and support, the Amity High School and the Amity students will continue to restore photos as part of their curriculum.

Toto is an award-wining photographer of 36 years who has been a teacher since 1995.  Her latest photo exhibit “Chernobyl 1989” was be shown at the Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.

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