NEW PALESTINE — It’s wasn’t all that long ago Shelby Horsley was a pretty insecure teen and unsure about what the future held.

Horsley, now a senior at New Palestine High School, wasn’t all that sure what she wanted to study in college or if she even wanted to go. Like most teens, she had all kinds of questions about life in general and what the future would bring.

Horsley wondered if she’d ever figure out what she was supposed to grow up and be. After a little soul searching, a lot of hard work and some help from caring adults, the future has become much clearer. In fact, it’s pretty close to picture perfect.

Horsley had the thrill of her young life recently after being selected by Russell Athletic to be one of their student photographers to work in Orlando at a college football game between Miami (Florida) and West Virginia.

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“Life is funny,” Horsley said. “Just this past summer I wasn’t even thinking of photography as a career choice, but once I got this opportunity, it hit me — I’m kind of good at this and I should use this talent.”

Horsley earned the honor after working for Russell Athletic this past football season capturing photos of the New Palestine football team.

The job was different with each game. One week it was capturing the fellowship between teammates, while the next week it was getting photos showcasing the aspect of community.

While she wasn’t paid for the months of hard work, the company did send her some athletics sports wear, a letter of recommendation and at the end of the college football season invited her to shoot photos for them at the Russell Athletic Bowl last month.

It included a round-trip ticket with all accommodations paid at the end of December so she could work the college football game, like a professional photographer.

She attended meetings, but she also had free time, and on the day of the game got a police escort to the stadium, just like the players.

Horsley and one other student photographer from Ohio were asked to shoot photos showcasing the players and fans engaging in teamwork. She then turned in her top 10 photos.

It’s been an amazing journey, one she never could have imagined, she said.

It all started several years ago when Horsley took a journalism class her freshman year. While she liked it, she didn’t fall in love with the writing aspect of the job. Her mother bought her a camera during her sophomore year and that’s when things began to click.

She started taking photos her junior year and found she was pretty good at it. Her journalism teacher, Andrew Smith, saw the promise and thought Horsley would be the ideal student to take on the internship with Russell Athletic.

Watching Horsley grow from an unsure young freshman to a sure of herself leader has been rewarding, Smith said in an email to the Daily Reporter.

“She’s one of the best photographers we’ve had in the years I’ve been advising publications here at NPHS, but a big reason is her diligence,” Smith wrote.

Horsley not only did well with the internship, but also was named the editor in chief of school’s newspaper, The Crimson Messenger, this year.

The internship with Russell Athletic couldn’t have come at a better time for Horsley, who said she had gone through some personal trials before the football season started.

Her mother, Monica Horsley thanked Smith for helping her daughter, pushing her to find a hidden talent.

“None of this would have been possible without the great teachers at the school and the support system at our church,” her mother said. “God has really done some amazing things in her life.”

While Horsley has enjoyed working with the school paper and for Russell Athletic, she plans to take a year off after graduation this spring before heading to college to study teaching.

During the year off she plans to do mission work with Brookville Road Community Church.

“I just want to see where God leads me,” Horsley said.

Wherever it is, one thing is certain, her camera will be wrapped around her shoulder ready to shoot whatever captures her attention.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or