Lawrentians Recognized with Scholastic Achievement Awards

Ella Rosenthal ’20 and Isabelle Lee ’21/The Lawrence
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards announced the recipients of the New Jersey art awards and 13 Lawrentians were honored in the New Jersey Writing Region. Cherie Fernandes ’21, Katelyn Ge ’21, Darin Khan ’20, Rachel Krumholtz ’21 Kristen Li ’21, Alexander Liang ’20, Audrey Safir ’20, and Stephanie Yoon ’19 received Gold Key Awards and Natalia Ibarra ’20 was granted a Silver Key Award for her poetry piece. Scarlet Au ’19, Ashley Duraiswamy ’20, Danny Kim ’21, and Min Seung Kim ’21 were presented with Honorable Mention Awards. Furthermore, five Lawrenceville students received a total of nine awards in the New Jersey Art Region. The Gold Key recipient was Min Seung Kim for a photography piece. Silver Key recipients include Philip Han ‘21 for a drawing and illustration, Jasper Zhu ‘21 for an editorial cartoon. Honorable Mentions recipients were Jeffrey Tao ‘20 for a painting and digital art piece, Philip Han for a painting, and Min Seung Kim for a painting and photography piece.
The New Jersey Scholastic Achievement Awards are tokens of recognition that are bestowed upon students who have produced fine literary and artistic work. Each year, the Alliance collaborates with 100 visual and literary arts organizations to bring these awards to different communities. Students within grades seven to 12 are eligible to apply and participate in the program in hopes of winning the following titles for their piece: Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention, American Voice, and Visions Nomination. Each of these Regional Awards are presented within the first round of the competition; students will then continue to compete for the National Awards in the next stage.
On what inspired him to create his political cartoon titled “Free Media: sponsored by the government,” Zhu said, “Since I find myself reading a lot from The Economist and [The Washington Post], I felt like media was a good topic to focus on. Given that faucet generally symbolizes control, a piece that focuses on the government's control over the flow information just felt like a natural extension of those ideas.”
Zhu’s piece originated from a creative sketch of a faucet filling up a TV that contained no particular meaning to him at first. However, after considering his work, his involvement and interest in politics prompted him to incorporate a political message depicting “Uncle Sam,” a popular term used to personify the American government, controlling American televised media and newspapers.
Taking art classes since he was a kid, Tao uses art as a form of self-expression and communication. In his painting titled “Squeaky Clean,” Tao wanted to “invoke the same joy [he] feel when [he] think about the ocean and to inspire hope in others for what we can do to maintain our beautiful ecosystems.”
Inspired by an old photo album in his home, Tao focused on the color contrasts throughout the painting. He found the experience rewarding, as he “put a lot of work as well as thought into” his pieces.
Kim’s artwork was originally inspired by scenes from old televised Korean dramas that accentuated moments depicting warriors being shot by arrows. Instead of possessing an important meaning, Kim’s photography piece “is special to [her] because it was [her] first ever studio photo experience.” In her photograph, she tried to create an unbiased image of egg that conveyed a sense of emptiness that’s open for creative interpretations.
“My dad loves photography, so since I was little, I grew up seeing my dad playing with his cameras, recording moments precious to him. Cameras were always nearby for me,” Kim said. She later added that being given the Gold Key Award “was completely unexpected” and that this round of the competition required an original image, profile editing, and a submission fee for her photograph.
Ibarra, who received a Silver Key award in the writing section of the competition, submitted the fourth poem, entitled “Thirst, Part IV: Exposure,” of her collection. Her piece was about a child’s journey with separated parents, an idea that came from her personal experience. Ibarra’s collection includes four poems that tell the child’s story in a progressive manner. Her first poem sets the scene of the “family dynamic, the second is about the child’s relationship with her mother, followed by the third about her relationship with her father, and the fourth describes the child’s relationship with herself and how she learns to cope with her family’s circumstances.
“I wanted for the reader to get an insight into what it is like to grow up with separated parents but also that it is not a horrible situation while it may seem like it is at the time, you can work through it,” Ibarra said.
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