Bowie High School is, in many ways, a typical American high school–its students play in football games, attend prom, and dream of bright futures. It is also unique, due to its location. It sits less than half a mile away from the Rio Grande, and many students live just across the border in Juarez, Mexico, commuting via the nearby border crossing to go to school.
Part of the border wall has already been built in El Paso, and it can be seen from the campus. It’s said that everything is bigger in Texas. This is especially true regarding the role Texas has played in the territorial histories of the U.S. and Mexico, and in shaping American identity. The interplay of Tejano and Mexican culture plays out constantly in El Paso, as does their complicated relationship to Anglo–Texan identity, and the way whiteness is often deemed interchangeable with American-ness.
Texas cheerleading has become an iconic representation of America. I wanted to take this deeply American phenomenon, and use it as a lens to examine the intersections between Mexican/American/Tejano cultures, and femininity, adolescence, and socioeconomics.
This project was completed with the help of the IWMF, The Marshall Project and National Geographic.
Featuring: Sara Naomi Lewkowicz
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Sara Lewkowicz is a native New Yorker with a master’s degree in visual communication from Ohio University in Athens. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Sara is a two-time World Press Photo winner, she was awarded first place in Contemporary Issues in 2014, and third place in the same category in 2016. She was the 2014 L’Iris d’Or winner, and has won several other grants and awards, including the 2013 Alexia Student Grant, and the 2013 Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award, and she has been named the 2013 College Photographer of the Year by POYi.
Her work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, TIME Magazine, Der Spiegel, L’Espresso, and numerous other magazines and newspapers.
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