Photographer Jeffery Noble with Marcia Bolden and Cheryl Sanfilip of Align Peoria and children from Whittier Primary School, June 26, 2019
It was a gorgeous, sunny morning in late June when I pulled up to Whittier Primary School in Peoria. Our photographer, Jeffery Noble, was already out front, adjusting letters on the marquee to read “Little Free Library.” Having stopped by the previous evening to scope out the scene, he’d determined a slight shift in the backdrop would make for a more dynamic image.
Whittier’s Little Free Library is comprised of a pair of small, house-like structures on wooden stands—newly filled with books and gifted to the school by its sponsor, the Moss-Bradley Residential Association. The photo shoot was to include two adults and a half dozen kids, and despite its convenient location near the building’s entrance, the brick wall behind the wooden structures left little depth for such an assemblage of people.
With that in mind, the ever-observant Noble quickly shifted gears. Several dozen feet away, the school’s marquee resided beneath a shade tree, offering a vibrant, natural setting with plenty of space for everyone. Borrowing some cleaner from Whittier’s friendly custodian, we brushed off the cobwebs and polished up the sign a bit. We were ready to roll!
Marcia Bolden, executive director of Align Peoria, was the first to arrive, followed by Cheryl Sanfilip, a retired administrator who’s been an integral presence on the Align board. This organization is a wonderful example of the power of collaboration—bringing educators, parents, business and community leaders together and leveraging their resources to support the students of Peoria Public Schools. Turn to page 48 to learn more about Align Peoria’s positive impact.
Then out came the schoolchildren, and their enthusiasm was indeed contagious. We set them up in and around the tree, with Marcia and Cheryl flanking either side of the marquee. Soon we had our cover photo, and with the help of some amazing natural lighting, the final image was in my inbox before noon that same day. —Jonathan Wright, Editor-In-Chief