Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of a Night to Shine or the Tim Tebow foundation. A fellow photographer was reaching out, in a local group we have here in Middle Georgia, for help in covering the event. After clicking the link and reading what it was all about, "Night to Shine celebrates the uniqueness of each individual guest by providing an unforgettable night where they are welcomed, valued and loved!" I was quick to put my name in the hat and lucky enough to have been chosen. I almost felt embarrassed that I hadn't known as I went to school for and originally intended to teach Special Education and LDs classes.
The event brought back a lot of memories from elementary school and a special girl named Katie. Back then they didn't know what to do with dyslexic kids like me and so I was put in a class with Katie. Katie had down syndrome, which I believe should be called up syndrome because she had the best outlook on life. I would spend a lot of time that year reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Katie's favorite book and helping the teacher Mrs. Gorman (the only teacher's name I can remember) in teaching Katie. I'm not sure how much I learned as far as words and reading is concerned, but I know I learned a lot about myself. Although I never saw Katie again I helped out through middle school and much of high school with other students with special needs and, as stated before, planned on teaching special education. I Found out a few years later Katie had died, but those few months have stay with me and her memory was alive on this night.
The night of the event I was excited to arrive at New Providence Baptist Church, the location of the event.. I had found out some of my fellow photogs and one of my favorite DJs (Kevin Nichols) would be there too. As I was setting up my lights and checking my equipment I noticed the local boy-scouts (Troop 51) preparing a shoe shine booth and practicing one each other, the lights and equipment being set up by the DJ, tables filling with food and cakes, flowers everywhere, booths for hair and make-up and 100s of "buddies" prepping to help make it the best night ever for the honored guests. Everyone brought their "A" game to the event and provided top-notch service.
The night progressed quickly as guests poured in to get their hair, makeup and shoes on looking just right. A line stretched across the room for the photo booth and outside for limo rides. Food and cakes were consumed and some of the most energetic dancing I have ever seen happened on the dance floor.
I feel privileged to have been a part of it and hope I did it justice in capturing the moments of the night. These will be some of my favorite photos of 2017!
Thank you to everyone that helped and again, I am grateful to have been a part of it and hope I can be in the future.
Michael Crews Videography