Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Rachael Zofcin

Mentor: Kerry Skarkey-Miller


Title:  Life Is No Circus


I traveled to Morocco this past year in the Spring of 2009 and took a photography course which helped me capture priceless and unforgettable moments. We interacted with a circus school called Amisep where I met children from the streets of Sale who are struggling to survive and obtain better lives. From this interaction I made life long bonds, which I will never forget. I have been working for the past three months of my senior year to create a photojournalism book, which I hope to use to spread awareness and share the events and activities of which myself, students from Ross and the students from the school experienced together. I intend to sell the book on Blurb and have the proceeds go towards the school’s fund, hopefully the money will be used to create a better environment and increase the education of these students. The book contains images from many of the students who attended the trip with me as well as some from teachers. There are also stories, the main one of a boy named Zouhir who became the reason to which I wanted to create this book. The book is titled, “life is no circus,” hopefully, the awareness of my project and this book will spread farther than I can imagine and help can be brought to these fantastic, intelligent and talented children of the Amisep circus school.





Over M-term this past year in February of 2009, I traveled to a photography and cultural exchange photography course to Morocco where we spent three days at the Amisep Circus School in Salé. While there I made many incredible friends and became especially close with a young boy named Zouhir and a young English teacher named Souad-Rhalla. Through my interactions at this school, I discovered what amazingly talented and incredible children where at this school and what a shame it is that there stories are not known outside of the walls of this sanctuary. After our depature we spent eight hours on a bus, of which time, my thoughts began to dwell on these children and how it would be possible to aid them once we returned to the New York. Many of the teachers and students on the trip brought up my senior project and ideas began to formulate.

The more idea’s I thought about, the more obstacles came into play as a senior project. My first idea was to host a benefit to raise money to send containers of goods collected from the Ross School community over to Amisep. Although this sounded like a great idea, raising the money for a large container to be shipped over seas was very costly. I then decided that I wanted to host the fundraiser to raise money to send a child over from the Amisep school to Ross so that we could share our cultures and have them experience the western world. Going through customs and the paper work, which is involved in bringing a child over from another country appeared to be very difficult. With about a month lost, I had not found a solid way to support the school and began to feel discouraged. I was determined to aid Amisep. At a team meeting with Mark Frankel, Jennifer Cross and Devon Parkes, we discussed the progress of my project. After explaining my numerous obstacles with my project and my discouragement at being unable to aid the school, the three of them proposed I create a book.

            I began looking through hundreds of images of my peers, instructors and myself. Crucial that the images not only be beautiful and power, but also express the purpose of my book. I had worked with Bridge and Photoshop while in Morocco, but was taken through a extensive crash course. I discovered that the ICC profiles when placed on the images allow you to view the way they will appear when printed in the book. Kerry also taught me how to resize and reformat images so that they would print properly in my book. Choosing the font and color profiles for the book became easier when I ordered a Dummy Copy and tested all the different aspects of Booksmart.

            This project was intended for me to use as a way of helping the children of the Amisep Circus School to obtain better educations and better lives.  When I first changed my project from a fundraiser to a book, I was concerned that a book would not be a successful or productive way of aiding the school. I was pleased when I discovered that I was able to sell my book through and could have a percentage of the cost go towards the school. In this way, I am able to send out the message out the Amisep School as well as raise money to send over to the school and aid these children towards obtaining a better future.

Works Consulted

Body, I. A. Barbara Ess.

Crewdson, G. Twilight.

DIlbeck, P. The Last Harvest.

Klein, G. P. In Search of Dignity.

Mann, S. Immediate Family.

Rainer, C. Where Masks Still Dance Newquinea.

Szakauki, J. Jan Groover.

Community Member (Details)