By Ayanna Fhagen-Smith and Julianne Joseph
Twenty talented writers and artists from the regional high school won a combined 25 awards from the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing competition last week.
Prior winners have included Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Richard Linklater and Zac Posen, among many others.
This year, five students were awarded Gold Keys, six were awarded Silver Keys and 13 were awarded Honorable Mentions in their regional group. Among the Gold Key winners were two ninth graders, Emily Gazzaniga and Davin Tackabury.
“I was thrilled but mostly surprised. It took me a minute to process the fact that a Gold Key is the highest award given,” Emily said. Emily’s unplanned photograph of her grandfather doing a crossword puzzle, “Papa’s Daily Crossword” landed her a Gold Key. “I think my papa’s reaction was even better. He was smiling ear to ear when I told him the news.”
Davin’s submission was a self portrait called “White Water.” Davin said, “It was pretty cool to win. It’s a great thing that this organization gives kids the opportunity to show their work.”
Senior Olivia Knight won a Gold Key for her photography portfolio titled “Behind the Masks.” Olivia said, “The theme of this portfolio was the different attitudes, personalities and behaviors people have. I wanted to capture their hidden insecurities and invoke those same feelings inside the viewer.”
Senior Patrick Best won an Honorable Mention for his digital art piece “Blue Period Self Portrait.” He said, “It ended up taking a month for me to finish this piece, but I guess that goes to show that you have to do art at your own pace. It cannot be rushed.”
Photography and Graphics teacher Chris Bear helped everyone who entered the contest. Mr. Baer said, “I am very excited and proud, they all deserved to win. I just make suggestions and encourage them, they do everything else.”
The Gold Key winners will have their work displayed in a Boston gallery for the month of March and will attend a special ceremony at the Museum of Fine Arts in mid-March. There will also be a display of all the award winning pieces in the high school library for the month of March.
The winners are eager to get to Boston and represent their work. “I am extremely excited but a little nervous. It’s crazy that my photograph was chosen for a Gold Key out of the many talented photographers and their work,” said Emily. The regional scholastic competition gave students a chance to showcase their work and to have a chance in a national competition.
Choosing their piece or pieces to enter wasn’t hard. Ninth grade silver key winner Molly Baldino said, “I took many photos that day and I thought the piece I submitted was the most powerful piece out of the collection.”
Molly’s photo was of her friend, Lauren Pagliccia doing her hair before dance class in the bathroom. “I feel honored that out of all the people that sent in work, I won such a great award,” Molly said.