When I started high school at Profile, there was no photography course. No small segment in another art class. Nothing. When I found out Littleton High School still had a darkroom, I coordinated tirelessly to get there.
After some convincing, guidance counselor was for it, their guidance counselor okayed it, and the photography teacher was overjoyed to have me.
Looking back, I learned so much in this class. It was the first time I worked with the exposure triangle, composition techniques, and darkroom developing. I enrolled in chemistry at the same time, which helped make Mrs. Platt's explanation on chemicals and the photographic process click. It was incredible. Never have I made such connections between courses.
What I remember most from this class was Mrs. Platt's patience with us, her tolerance at our silly antics, her kindness, and her style. I want to dress like her when I grow up.
It was important to Mrs. Platt that we took pictures as much as possible. That's how we learned. She'd take us on strolls around Littleton, spending time at Remich Park or on Main Street. I had the most fun writing an essay when I chose my topic- Photography and Social Reform.
I loved her class so much that she allowed me to come back my senior year for an independent study. She let me stay in the darkroom for six hours like a mole person so I could evade the Winter Carnival activities I detested at Profile. Best day ever.
Mrs. Platt built my foundation as a photographer, which led to the opening of my business just one year after graduation. She is best known for her kindness, which is how I ended up a transplant in the basement darkroom of Littleton High School. She set the example of what we can achieve if schools, students, teachers, and people in general work together. She could have said she didn't want another student utilizing her resources, but she was willing to share her classroom and materials with someone who didn't even go to her school. I will be forever be grateful.
I found out a few days ago that Mrs. Emily West Platt passed away from cancer. Everyone is stunned by the news, and I never knew she was sick. Someone made a Facebook post on her behalf, writing:
"Emily passed away peacefully last night, after battling cancer with courage and grace. She carried a smile on her face to the end, leaving this world looking radiant and beautiful as ever.
Here is how she hopes her friends will carry on:
'Help others! Make this your everyday habit - no matter what it is (big or small). Don't do it because you want acknowledgement, but because it's the right thing to do. This will make me happy and proud!
Be kind and tolerant of everyone! You never know what someone is going through or how they're feeling and why. Don't judge - show kindness and compassion. This will also make me happy and proud!
Do this often enough and long enough to make it part of who you are.'"
Thank you, Mrs. Platt. You will be remembered by your students and everyone around you.