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Rachel Huffaker '18 Discovers Hidden Talent

When Rachel Huffaker ’18 entered the Hun Upper School, she contemplated how best to fulfill her art requirement.

“I don’t draw or paint,” said Rachel. Her father, Jim Huffaker, director of technology and an avid photographer, had given her a Nikon D32 camera. So, she decided to take Photography 1 with Hun’s teacher Stacy Collingham. 

Now, with six semesters of photography and a half-dozen awards under her belt, it is evident that Rachel made the right choice. And with Ms. Collingham as her teacher, mentor, and friend, she has come far.

Rachel’s work has appeared in Photography Forum magazine’s Best of College and High School Photography,twice. She won a Silver Key Award and two honorable mentions from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards national competition. She placed first in photography in the Phillips Mill Community Association art exhibition in New Hope, last winter. Her photographs, which she prefers to print in black and white, have hung in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and at Drexel University. 

“Clearly, it’s not just me who thinks she’s terrific,” said Ms. Collingham, who has taught photography at Hun for twelve years and is herself a prolific photographer and artist. 

For her final work at Hun, known as a senior Capstone Project, Rachel went to her favorite place to shoot: downtown Philadelphia. 

“She doesn’t like shooting people; most of her work has been still life, because she can control it,” said Ms. Collingham of her student.  “She is on the shy side, and doesn’t enjoy interviewing someone or taking photos of them. It was good for her to break out of her comfort zone.”

Rachel, who is from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, agreed with that assessment. In fact, she managed to shoot many of the photos in her Capstone project without her subjects’ knowledge, which is perfectly legal in a public place, she discovered from her research. 

“Only one girl actually noticed right away,” Ms. Huffaker recalled. “It suits me to be the observer, rather than to order people around.”

Rachel heads off to Arizona State University in the fall, where she will likely study psychology. She will continue to shoot photos and may take some classes.

“Ms. Collingham definitely put me on this path,” she notes. “I was very shy freshman year. She was very kind to me and supportive of my photography. She helped build my confidence a lot and helped me in all areas of life and school. I’m sure we’ll keep in touch.” END OF FILE 



Senior Capstone at The Hun School 

All Hun School seniors participate in a self-directed Capstone Experience, a two-week experiential learning project that can include an internship, an exploratory trip, or a build phase. Well in advance of their senior spring, students select a field or topic of interest and submit a proposal to the Capstone Committee. Working with an advisor and outside mentor, they participate in the experience and then present their Capstones to Hun School students and faculty.