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Photo company lacks heart for Oakville High graduates

May 25, 2005 - Ending a longstanding tradition of Call Newspapers, graduates of Oak-ville Senior High School will not be pictured this year as part of the Call's annual salute to local seniors and their families.

Citing a policy adopted by the Mehlville Board of Education on Jan. 5, 1998, and revised Dec. 16, 2002, Superintendent Tim Ricker informed the Call in a recent letter that the panoramic photos of Mehl-ville and Oakville graduates are not the property of the school district, but of the companies that took the photographs.

Bill Milligan
However, Ricker's March 3 letter said we could contact the companies that took the photographs and request their permission to publish them.

The Goldbeck Co. of San Antonio, Texas, which took the photo of the Mehlville graduates, was more than happy to allow us to publish its photo.

But Heart of America Photography of Lawrence, Kan., which took the photo of the Oakville graduates, would not allow us to publish its photo.

Bill Faber of Heart of America said Mehlville School/Community Rela-tions Director Patrick Wallace had re-quested that the photograph not be provided to the Call.

That's disappointing because a large part of what the Call does each week is highlight the accomplishments of our area's outstanding young people who attend public, parochial and private schools. Unfortunately, we are not able to publish an item about every student, but publishing the panoramic photo each year allows us to recognize the perseverance and hard work of everyone earning a diploma.

We have expanded our salute to graduating seniors this year thanks to the help of the Affton, Fox, Bayless, Hancock, Rockwood Summit and Lindbergh school districts. Admini-strators at each district thanked us for shining a positive light on their school and students.

Oakville High students, first recognized in 1990 by the Call, will not be included in this year's salute, but that was not our decision. We believe all students deserve to have their picture in the paper for staying in school and earning a diploma.

While the Call salutes all area graduates, it's a shame that a company that does business with the Mehlville School District will not allow us to shine a positive light on the achievements of Oakville Senior High's Class of 2005.

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