Free State High School student’s photo wins Great Shot contest

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Addie Driscoll, a senior and student journalist at Free State High School, has won first place in a semiannual national photo contest.

Driscoll’s photo of her lemon beagle, Maizie Jo, happily chomping on a stick that she “very proudly found” topped the contest’s Animal Life category.


According to the Balfour contest website, there were more than 1,200 submissions. Driscoll’s shot stands out from the other top-ranked entries as the only one that is not in full color.

Addie Driscoll

“I chose to do the image in black and white to put more focus on the face and the reaction, I didn’t want color to take that away,” Driscoll said via email. “I also like to use black and white in my photography especially when the background is blank. I did it in a lighter contrast way so it still looks sunny and bright out.”

Driscoll said she got into photography about two years ago. Staying home over the course of the pandemic, she took a lot of pet photos.

“I would bring my camera outside while they played and it was a great way to be outside spend time with my dogs and practice camera skills,” she said.

Next year, Driscoll will attend the University of Kansas as a business student, and she plans to get a degree in marketing. She thinks she may also want to minor in photography after her successes this year.

In addition to earning the $500 first-place prize in the Balfour contest, Driscoll placed first and second in two categories of the Association of Texas Photography Instructors’ (ATPI) fall competition and received two honorable mentions from the Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City. She also placed fourth in sports action photography in the Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s regional competition, and she’s eagerly awaiting the results of the state competition.

“I’ve worked really hard to learn skills and be more familiar with the camera so winning an award like this is very meaningful to me and makes all the hard work worth it and shows that I am getting better and can still improve,” she said.

“Basically that hard work does pay off, and once it does it feels amazing. I will put the prize money into savings to hopefully buy a new camera lens later.”

The Balfour contest’s other category for high school students is Emotion, and a separate category invites submissions from kindergartners through eighth-graders.

Check out all of Balfour’s spring winners at this link. See more of Driscoll’s work on Instagram.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com or 785-422-6363. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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