Local teen and photographer can feature on magazine cover – Valley Times-News

Local teen Sydney Gray, a senior at Valley High School, may soon be featured on the cover of ‘Inspiring Teens’ magazine thanks to Lanett photographer Narfunda Ross, who shot senior photos for Sydney. If that happens, Sydney will win a $1,000 scholarship and Ross will be named on the cover. Valerie Gray, Sydney’s mother and executive director of the Chambers County Development Authority, said Sydney was guaranteed a two to three page spread in the magazine.

“How it all started was Narfunda Ross of Ten Thirty Three Photography, a local photographer from Lanett, she and I wanted to do something unique for senior photos in Sydney,” Valerie said. “And we chose downtown Lanett because of the ongoing revitalization [there] then the factory site to kind of look at the past and all that.

The mill Valerie is referring to is the old Lanett Mill on Route 29.

Ross said she discovered “Inspiring Teens” while surfing Instagram and it was the first time she had submitted her work to the magazine.

“And I did it because I learned a lot about her,” Ross said. “She inspired me during filming.”

Ross said she wishes there were more citizens like Sydney.

“What inspired me the most about her was her spirit to make sure everyone is happy,” Ross said. “She is selfless. It is what it is. She wants everyone to get along and be happy with what they’re doing.

Ross said Sydney was in first place going into the first round.

“The next round is another group of seniors, and then the winner of the second round will face the first round,” Ross said. “And we don’t know what it will be, but they will announce the winner on December 31 if I’m not mistaken.”

“The final round will start on the 21st,” Valerie said. “And I don’t know how much [contenders] will be in there. So we’ll find out next week. And then voting will start from December 21 to December 28, and community members, family, and people around the world will be able to vote on whoever they want for the cover of the magazine.

Valerie said a vote costs $5 and can be done online.

“But if people just want to contribute a dollar or two to myself or Narfunda, then we’ll make sure it’s voted on, we’ll give that money back for the vote, and all that money will go to scholarships for the finalists in the competition,” she said.

Both Ross and Valerie want to promote the area.

“We try to promote the local store,” Ross said. “We try to promote the house. Home is where the heart is, so we were just trying to figure out, ‘How can we take, as they say, something out of nothing?’ And I think that’s how we found the factory site.

“With Narfunda’s artwork, we get to showcase rural Alabama because a lot of these other participants I’ve seen are from large urban areas,” Valerie said. “And we wanted to show rural Alabama and what it still looks like and how it’s progressing as well.”

To vote for Sydney or another teen, visit https://www.inspiringteens.com/51.

The Inspiring Teens website states that Inspiring Teens is a “by teens for teens” organization that is supervised by adults. It has distributed over $75,000 in scholarships since January 25, 2019.

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