Lawrentians Honored in Scholastic Arts & Writing Competition

Eighteen Lawrentians received notable awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.

Eighteen Lawrentians received notable awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. 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, in the New Jersey Art Region, Min Seung Kim received a Gold Key Award for a photography piece, Philip Han ’21 and Jasper Zhu ’21 received Silver Key Awards, and Jeffrey Tao ’20, Han, and Kim received Honorable Mentions.

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 in grades seven through 12 are eligible to apply in hopes of winning the following awards for their piece: Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention, American Voice, and Visions Nomination. Each of these regional awards are presented in the first round of the competition. Students then compete for the national awards.

On what inspired him to create his political cartoon entitled “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 [a] 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 began with a creative sketch of a faucet filling up a television that had no particular meaning to him at first. However, after thoughtfully 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.

Having taken art classes since he was young, 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] feels 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” the piece.

Min Seung Kim’s artwork was originally inspired by scenes from old televised Korean dramas that accentuated moments where warriors were shot by arrows. Instead of possessing an underlying 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 an egg that conveyed a sense of emptiness that’s open for creative interpretations.

“My dad loves photography, so [...] 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 said that being given the Gold Key Award “was completely unexpected.”

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 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 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.

All Gold Key recipients will advance to the National round for further competition.