Delaney, Superstar

By Michelle Lu

I started this journey intending to photograph three girls whose mothers all work at George Watts Montessori Magnet. The three girls – Katie, Delaney and Layla – are all in their last year at Watts, and I hoped to capture the special relationship that they’ve developed over years of early mornings and late afternoons at Watts. I quickly realized that while the three have a shared bond, each girl had a deeper, individual story beyond her role as the daughter of a staff member.

I focused on Delaney, the daughter of the school guidance counselor. Delaney is at home in the hallways of Watts, but she is also a superstar on the soccer field. My hope is that this project shows everybody both aspects of Delaney’s life. Over the course of three months at Watts, I spent many early mornings with Delaney as she waited for school to begin. I photographed Delaney as she went about her school day with her classmates, spent evenings practice for hours on the soccer field, and helped her team soundly beat a more highly ranked soccer team on a Saturday morning in Cary. I saw Delaney observe the world around her quietly and then charm everyone with a burst of energy and a bright smile. I’ve heard Delaney described as a superstar, both by other parents at soccer practice as well as the Watts staff members who have watched her grow up.

Many thanks to Delaney’s family, teachers, coaches, classmates and teammates for welcoming me and allowing me to photograph your classes and practices.