Behind The Lens Of Mrs. Wilson


Photo by Ella Love

Ella Love, Staff Writer

Starting her career as a photojournalist for The Daily Progress, Rachel Wilson has passed on her passion for photography and creativity to countless Charlottesville High School students her past 17 years of teaching. 

Mrs. Wilson teaches several levels of photography classes, including Photo 1, 2 and 3 (Capstone). Each class focuses on a variety of creative skills and guides students to better understand the world of photography. Mrs. Wilson expressed that “teaching was more stressful in [her] early years because [she] did not come from a teacher preparation program, but now it is more fun and exciting being able to meet new groups of students.”

While Mrs. Wilson originally applied under Psychology for college, she felt photography was a better fit for teaching, considering “[she] had fallen in love with Charlottesville and wasn’t looking to leave when they were searching for a photography teacher.” Before teaching at CHS, she led a photography workshop at the Boys and Girls club, allowing her to stay in Charlottesville while pursuing her passion for photography. 

Many students at CHS feel a strong connection to Mrs. Wilson and her class due to her kind spirit and enthusiasm towards promoting individual creativity. Meredith Hendricks, a Junior in the Photo 3 Capstone class expressed that: “Mrs. Wilson has heavily affected my CHS experience. During the day when I feel stressed or anxious, photography is a class where I can come to relax and be myself while doing something that I love.” Clearly Mrs. Wilson’s liveliness towards teaching and interacting with her students reflects greatly upon everyone. 

Mrs. Wilson encourages students to connect photography with other things they are passionate about, she believes that “this is when photography will be most meaningful for the person creating it.” Her ways of spreading creativity have made a great difference on many students’ lives, including Elizabeth Engel, a Junior in the Photo 3 Capstone class that stated: “Her way of promoting creativity and individualism through photography has inspired me to think outside the box when it comes to our projects.” 

The Photo 3 Capstone class is currently in the process of working on their “CHS I love it, I love it, I love it” project, where they plan on updating the student posters surrounding the Atrium walls. Various other projects include free portraits for students and staff and photo coverage of the Virginia State Fair. Mrs Wilson expressed that these projects “bring in members of the community, which is a great way of sharing our skills with a larger audience than our class and using photography as a way of spreading positivity within our school.”

Mrs. Wilson has not only captured images through her lens, but also the heart of CHS.