Photos to last as long as friendship

Published 6:12 pm Friday, December 21, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Six years ago, Friends Forever started at Niles High School by Assistant Principal Robert Smith. He wanted a way for students to be able to take pictures with their friends, and have something that would leave them with a memory that lasts forever, just as some friendships do.
"I also wanted to try and celebrate diversity in the school by bringing different groups of friends together. We want the kids to connect with friendships that can last forever," Smith explained.
With his idea, an annual event was born and every year, right before Christmas break, students have a chance to get their picture taken with one or more of their friends.
"We have found that with good friendships, a student's academics go up, their attitude is improved and their attendance increases. Friends are a very important part of life and we really like to stress that," Smith said.
Thursday was the last chance for students to have their picture taken. High school security supervisor Danette Amberg was responsible for taking pictures with her own digital camera. She then prints them out for the students to enjoy.
"I used construction paper to create a holder for the pictures and just put a cute Christmas decoration on the outside," Amberg said.
Pictures were taken at a scene set up in front of the cafeteria. Aaron's Sales and Lease provided a couch for students to sit on, while East Main Gardens provided poinsettias.
"Right before the holiday break, we like to give the students plenty of things to do because we find that sometimes students will miss the last few days before break. That's one reason we like to have the Friends Forever during the final week. We've also kept them busy decorating the school and we hold a friend's talent show on the last day," Smith said.