TMS student’s ‘favorite place’ takes first place in statewide PTA contest
When Gus Dent was told he could get extra credit in his English class for entering a photography contest, he jumped at the opportunity.
The seventh-grader didn't know his photo would later be classified as the PTA Reflections Program's best photo in Kansas.
His photo is a snapshot of a garden outside of Peruvian Connection in Tonganoxie.
Since he won the state competition, Dent recently submitted the photo to the program's national competition. His photo didn't win, but he said he was surprised to even be considered for national honors.
He received a certificate for outstanding achievement in October from the national competition. He received a gold medal from winning the Kansas state competition.
"The theme was "My Favorite Place," and I like to go in the garden and have fun, sit on the rocks, play hide-and-seek and climb trees," Dent said. "I was walking around and just saw this place. When my grandma (Joyce Dent) went out to this garden, I remembered that's where I usually sit to sketch, so I took a picture of it."
Dent likes to draw as well. In fact, being an artist runs in the Dent family. Dent's father, Scott, draws recreationally. Dent's grandfather, Lester, attended the Kansas City Art Institute. Dent's other grandmother, Phylles Barker, is an artist.
Dent said he took several other photos near the garden as well. He used his grandmother Joyce's Pentax 35-millimeter camera, which was 30 years old, to capture Kansas' winning photo.
When Dent's mother, Lisa, was notified her son's photo won the Kansas state competition, she did what any proud mother would do -- she spread the news.
"I had to call the grandmas, first thing," Lisa said, laughing. "I'm very proud of Gus. He's very artistic. He has a good eye for art."
Dent said in the future, he'd like to make a career out of sports photography. He currently plays many sports, including wrestling, basketball, football and baseball, at Tonganoxie Middle School.
He attended the Oct. 14 Chiefs-Bengals football game at Arrowhead Stadium and took a variety of photos for practice and fun. It's evident Dent has a passion for photography.
"It's just about being able to capture a moment that you might not be able to capture, say, on a road trip or something," Dent said.