St. Johns County photographer wants to ease pain of canceled graduation

Photographer plans to select 2 seniors for a free photo session on April 10

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County photographer wants high school seniors to know their hard work has not gone unnoticed just because of the outbreak of COVID-19.

This after the school district announced it is canceling graduation ceremonies.

When Abbey Riddle thought she’d be returning to school after Spring Break, the pandemic worsened, taking away from her experience.

“We put in 13 years of school and worked really hard and earned cords for graduation and everybody was so excited to walk in now that’s just been taken away,” Riddle said. "A lot of it is sad because a lot of us are going to different schools in different states so we don’t know if we’re going to see these people who we’ve grown up with again.”

But then her mom saw a Facebook post by a local photographer wanting to help high school seniors hold onto those memories.

Bridget Gabrielle Photography has stopped most photoshoots since the outbreak, but the owner saw a way to keep students spirits up.

𝙃𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝙨𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙡 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙞𝙤𝙧𝙨, My heart is breaking for you. What is supposed to be the happiest time in your lives filled with...

Posted by Bridget Gabrielle Photography, LLC on Saturday, April 4, 2020

“I just don’t want them to have feelings of fear or anxiety that their moment is going to be missed and they won’t have these really good memories," said owner Bridget Erskine. “Even though it may be postponed, they’ll still have these moments and memories to look back on and a heck of a story to go with it when they look back at what they’ve endured at this time.”

Erskine is offering $100 discounts for sessions for the Class of 2020. The sessions will be 20 minutes at a few locations around St. Johns County.

Erskine also plans to select two seniors for a free session on April 10.

Riddle said the act of kindness showed her why it’s important to hold on to what she can.

“It really helps show light in the community and I think it’s a good thing for the time that we’re in right now to have a little bit of light amongst all the craziness,” Riddle said.

The St. Johns County School District is looking at virtual graduation and it won’t plan school-based graduation until it knows what to expect.

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