Last year Jalen had a major photography assignment which he had to develop throughout the year. He had to come up with a concept and then show he developed it, and then submit his final assignment.
He told me that he always remembered when Noah was in the ICU (and we knew he may pass away) that Aaron said to him while they were walking together outside the hospital 'you never know what is going on in someone's life. Everyone here looks fine, but they may have something terrible going on like us'.
That stuck with him and he decided for his photography assignment he wanted to portray that in some way. His first idea was to take photos of people looking happy, but standing in places that you wouldn't necessarily think was a happy environment. He took photos of a friend smiling at the cemetery, another friend in an abandoned building and Harri in a burnt out building.
He then thought about how he could portray it better using video, as he could tell someone's story more. He talked to his teacher about it, and he agreed that it was a good idea.
Jalen chose to make three videos, (and had photos to match) for his major assignment, and they were shown at the Newstead College arts night at the end of last year. There were three TV screens on the wall, with headphones to listen to each video. Around the TVs were the photos that he took.
He knew straight away that he wanted to tell his own story as he's obviously been through so much in the last 6 years and if you just met him now, you wouldn't really understand how far he's come.
He just started grade 7 a couple of weeks after Aaron died, and it was a tough year. He missed so much of school because he felt physically sick every day from the trauma and grief. It was so hard to help him, when I was going through the same things myself, but I also had to go to work and help Harri and Kobe with their grief.
He got some great feedback from his video, and we were told that there were many people in tears. Some of his teachers couldn't even watch them, as they knew it would upset them too much.
This is the first video which is his story and how he 'feels like myself again'.