I finally convinced the green-eyeshades finance dude at school to approve the purchase of a Nikon D80 camera with an 18-200mm VR lens.
I know, Nikon is discontinuing the D80 in favor of the D90, but the D80 is still an outstanding camera that will stand the test of time. And the fact that it's being discontinued means the price is at the bottom right now.
It won't belong to ME, but I will be in charge of taking care of it... which is the next best thing. If I could afford to, I'd get one for myself, but at least this way I will be really accustomed to using it when the day finally comes that I can afford my own.
A local professional photographer is going to come to my class once the camera comes and help us learn how to use it. Besides feeling rather excited myself, I am really glad that the kids will finally have a REAL CAMERA to learn on. I've got one student (a junior this year) who I believe has a future as a professional photographer herself... and she needs to get as much time on a DSLR camera as possible.
Watch this space for more pictures soon. Feel free to give suggestions or comments regarding how the photos I post could be improved.