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College T-Shirt Project: Creating Memories for Seniors, Donations to Houston Food Bank

Michelle Casas Groogan
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  • Bayle Vines,

    Bayle Vines, Emery/Weiner High School senior, plans to attend Boston University. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography)  

  • Jordyn Whitaker,

    Jordyn Whitaker, Emery/Weiner High School senior, plans to attend the University of Colorado Boulder.  (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography)  

  • Jesse McMillan

    Jesse McMillan, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory senior, plans to attend Chapman University in California. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography) 

  • Laine Cohen

    Laine Cohen, Emery/Weiner senior, plans to study Art Design at Louisiana State University. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography)

  • Makayla Wigder

    Makayla Wigder, Bellaire High School senior, plans to attend Brandeis University in Massachusetts. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography) 

  • Noam Yaari

    Noam Yaari, Bellaire High School senior, plans to attend Texas A&M University.  (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography) 

  • Bayle Vines,
  • Jordyn Whitaker,
  • Jesse McMillan
  • Laine Cohen
  • Makayla Wigder
  • Noam Yaari

For soon-to-be high school grads, it’s been dubbed the year of missed milestones. No prom, no graduation, no end-of-year awards – rites of passage that have always defined the culmination of years of school.

These were equally heart-rending thoughts for photographer Jordan Scheiner, a Bellaire resident. The coronavirus pandemic shut down business for him, too. And though he doesn’t have any high-school aged kids of his own, he has nieces and nephews and was moved thinking about all the missed opportunities for seniors to make memories. 

“The 2020 seniors are missing out on so many of the fun things that happen these last couple months of school,” said Jordan Scheiner. “And celebrating where they are going to school in the fall is one of them. So we wanted to help make that happen.”

Jordan partnered with friends at Natural Expressions Photography and came up with the College T-Shirt Project for graduating seniors. Jordan has traveled to more than a dozen homes to take professional photos (at a safe distance) of soon-to-be high school graduates. The cost… a $25 donation to the Houston Food Bank. 

“I do a lot of events - weddings, bar mitzvahs, that kind of thing - and I had probably 10 events either rescheduled or canceled from mid-March to the beginning of June. So it actually was really nice to just get out there and take pictures of these kids and be around people who are happy and hopeful and looking forward to their next adventure.” 

As tough as it has been on all of us, students and their families haven’t lost perspective. They know the crisis caused by this virus is real, families are struggling to pay bills and to put food on the table. That’s why the kids are spreading the word and signing up for this project. 

Emery/Weiner senior, Laine Cohen, is going to Louisiana State University in the fall. “What Jordan is doing really puts it all in perspective. It’s been so hard . . . especially being a senior. When you’re a senior at Emery/Weiner, the end of year is a big deal because all seniors go on a month-long, huge trip to Israel and Poland and our trip was canceled. I know I’m going to have another graduation in the future but missing our senior trip makes me the saddest and not seeing my friends.” 

"This has been a tough season, we've missed a lot of meaningful events, but it's good to look forward," said Jesse McMillan, senior pole vaulter at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory who was recruited by Chapman University in Southern California. 

Just midway through May, Jordan has already been able to donate $600 to the Houston Food Bank and that’s because generous families have given more than the $25 minimum. It doesn’t matter that Jordan is still not pulling any income … donating to the Food Bank means a whole lot more to him right now. 

“It feels good and every dollar right now at the Food Bank is making nine meals. So, you know, a lot of meals. We thought this would be a good way to celebrate and still get to take pictures and raise some money for the Food Bank.”

Each student receives digital pictures to share. For more information about the College T-Shirt Project, contact Jordan Scheiner Photography at [email protected] or Natural Expressions Photography at [email protected].

Editor's note: Class of 2020, we're so proud of you! We want to hear where you're heading next. Share your plans with us in our graduates database and see where your classmates are heading, too. 

Bayle Vines,

Bayle Vines, Emery/Weiner High School senior, plans to attend Boston University. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography)  

Jordyn Whitaker,

Jordyn Whitaker, Emery/Weiner High School senior, plans to attend the University of Colorado Boulder.  (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography)  

Jesse McMillan

Jesse McMillan, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory senior, plans to attend Chapman University in California. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography) 

Laine Cohen

Laine Cohen, Emery/Weiner senior, plans to study Art Design at Louisiana State University. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography)

Makayla Wigder

Makayla Wigder, Bellaire High School senior, plans to attend Brandeis University in Massachusetts. (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography) 

Noam Yaari

Noam Yaari, Bellaire High School senior, plans to attend Texas A&M University.  (Photo: Jordan Scheiner Photography) 

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