Wendy Jung, a photographer and founder of Soggy Dog Designs, is offering free photo sessions to the Morse High School Class of 2020 to document the students and the challenges they’ve faced in recent months. Above, Macey Coffin, a senior at Morse, stands on McMann Field, where she played field hockey and lacrosse for the past four years. Photo courtesy of Wendy Jung 

BATH — Wendy Jung of Bath says photography has the power to make people feel “awesome.”

When COVID-19 hit and schools across Maine halted in-person learning, taking away senior rites of passage like prom and graduation, she knew she wanted to do something to help soften the blow for Morse High School students.

Jung, a photographer and founder of Soggy Dog Designs, is offering free photo sessions to the Morse High School Class of 2020 to document who these students are and how they’ve adapted to the challenges they’ve faced in recent months.

“When I talk to them, they’re just down, that’s the only way I can describe it,” said Jung. “They’re experiencing grief because they’re grieving the loss of these last few months they’ve been working towards. But, the amazing thing is they all have some optimism and they’re still working hard.”

Jung said she has known many of the seniors for several years because she has coached junior varsity field hockey at Morse for 5 years and worked as a volunteer lacrosse coach for the past 16 years. She takes portraits of the school athletes each year.

“She wants every senior to be highlighted and recognized for what they’ve done, not just the athletes,” said Macey Coffin, a senior at Morse who plays field hockey and lacrosse.

Jung said she wanted the students to have full creative control over the photo session. The students choose where the photos are taken and what they wear, whether that’s their prom dress or a sports uniform.

Coffin chose to have her photos taken at McMann Field, the school district’s large outdoor sports complex behind Bath Middle School. McMann Field is also where her graduation ceremony would’ve taken place, but that has since been moved to the Wiscasset Municipal Airport.

“A lot of my school moments have been on that field because it has been there with me since I started middle school,” said Coffin. “Being on the field again knowing I won’t have my graduation there, it was emotional, but it was a nice opportunity to be on the field even if it was for the last time.”

Coffin said she chose three outfits for the photo session to represent who she was as a Morse student, and what her future holds. In one photo, she wore a Thomas College sweatshirt while holding both a lacrosse stick and field hockey stick.

Molly Cashman, a senior, stands on the tennis courts at McMann Field where she played tennis for the past four years. She said her photo session with Wendy Jung of Soggy Dog Designs “represented the ending of high school.” Photo courtesy of Wendy Jung

“I’ll be playing both field hockey and lacrosse at Thomas College next year, so I wanted to show what I’m working towards in the future,” she said.

Molly Cashman, a senior at Morse, also chose McMann Field to take her photos because she played three sports while at Morse. But, instead of hinting at the future in her photos like Coffin, Cashman used the session to reflect the last few months.

“We didn’t know we’d stop going to school after Friday, March 13 because there was no warning,” said Cashman. “We were told we’d be out for two weeks, then another four, then the rest of the school year. We never got a chance to say goodbye to everyone.”

“I’m very sad about the whole situation,” Cashman added. “A lot of us took this time for granted.”

Because of this sudden end to her senior year, Cashman said she took the photo session as an opportunity to come to terms with what she lost as well as express who she was as a Senior at Morse High School.

“I took my pictures at McMann Field because I played 3 sports and I’ve played on that field for years,” she said. “These pictures represented the ending of high school.”

So far, Jung has profiled 13 students, but she hopes to reach all 126 Seniors, which she said is “a ridiculous ambition.”

More information on the project can be found at soggydogdesigns.com. If students would like to participate, Jung can be reached at [email protected]

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