Schenectady High School student, Draven Rodriguez wanted what most teenagers long for in their senior portrait – something memorable, that would showcase his unique individuality. So, he hired a photographer to take the most outlandish senior photo he could come up with! A portrait of him with his rescue kitty, Mr. Bigglesworth…and lasers!
Rodriguez told the Daily Gazette:
“I’m a little out there and a little tongue-in-cheek,” he said. “Cats and lasers . . . sarcastic. It’s so outlandish and ridiculous.”
When Draven submitted his photo to the yearbook, school district spokeswoman Karen Corona said that it could appear in the yearbook but that it would not be allowed to appear in the senior portrait section alongside the other students’ photos. According to Matt Leon, spokesman for the Niskayuna Central School District,
“There are no specific guidelines, but 99.9 percent of the time there are professional-type head shots,” said Matt Leon, spokesman for the Niskayuna Central School District. “You do need to consider the consistency and decorum of the section.”
Although there was a bit of a social media outcry over the school district’s decision not to include Draven’s portrait in the senior photo section, he was perfectly happy knowing that it would be in the yearbook and said, “I can work with that.” He had taken a back up photo wearing a suit and tie and a lapel pin with Mr. Bigglesworth on it, so, the cat will still be in his senior photo!
Later, Schenectady High School principal Diane Wilkinson got in on the act, and had a similar photo taken of herself with her rescue Chihuahua, Vivienne. Now a composite photo has been made of Draven, Principal Wilkinson and their two rescue pets (and yes, lasers!). The new image will appear on the principals yearbook page and will be used to raise awareness for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and rescue pets.
Draven Rodriguez will certainly have a story to tell years from now when he’s flipping through his yearbook!