There are several opportunities that are waiting to be explored by people who have a strong passion.
Julio Herrera is a student who found out what he wants to pursue by spending time with his family.
Herrera was able to find plenty of opportunities for independent work growing up in Peotone, Illinois. His family moved to Dyer in sixth grade and he started attending Kahler Middle School.
Throughout middle school, he became more involved with sports such as cross country, track, and wrestling. This helped guide Herrera into figuring out what he wanted to pursue moving forward.
“When I got into high school, I thought it would be interesting to continue doing sports because I had a lot of fun with it,” Herrera said. “I’ve been doing it for more than seven years and love being in sports.”
Herrera is currently a senior at Lake Central High School. With sports being one of his biggest passions, he decided to make that the focus for his desire to work with photography.
“I had a very little handheld camera when I first started photography,” Herrera said. “For a while, I only did nature shots and stayed local. After I got better equipment, I decided to join the yearbook and school magazine teams. I learned all the basic functions until I became the head photographer last year.”
This opportunity started to open many doors for Herrera. He would eventually go to St. Louis where he was presented with his first award for excellence in sports action photography at the National Good Journalism Convention. Over the past year, he began working more with his photo composition and editing skills.
As a result, he won another award at the same convention this year in Boston.
Herrera credits his mom, dad, and his brothers for helping him in his journey and always supporting him. He acknowledges that they helped him flesh out his personality and perform strongly in school while being able to pursue his dreams.
Two other people who have greatly shaped what Herrera plans to continue after he graduates from high school are his grandparents.
“My grandma was always interested in photography and helped me find a spot to start doing it myself,” Herrera said. “I got my camera around the time of my eighth-grade graduation when we visited her in Wisconsin. My grandpa was a veteran of the Marines. He helped me get interested in forensics and shows with criminals.”
Outside of his main passions, Herrera has always been a fan of art and reading. One of his favorite authors is James Patterson.
Following high school, Herrera wants to continue sports photography. One goal on his agenda is to eventually have his own professional photography business. However, he also has a passion to get into criminal justice for college. He aspires to go into the FBI and work with investigations.
As for furthering his education to obtain these goals, Herrera is currently in the process of figuring out which school will give him the best chance for him to make both of these careers become a long-term reality. He’s aligned himself to be prepared to tackle this journey after he graduates this year.
“I feel like starting off with a camera you don’t know is important,” Herrera said. “You can experiment with it and figure out how to use every part of it. If you see something interesting, take a picture and post it. I post a lot of my pictures on Instagram. For criminal justice, I’ve been reading a lot. I try to take classes such as science and anatomy that will help me be prepared down the line. Making connections with other people, especially professionals, can go a long way too.”