SJA Students Receive National Photography And Writing Honors

St. Johnsbury Academy seniors, Kay Conner, at left, and Lily Barth have recently been honored with national awards for their photography and writing, respectively, as part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. (Courtesy photos)

Two St. Johnsbury Academy seniors have received recognition at the national level for their work in the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Kay Conner, of St. Johnsbury, earned a Gold Medal for her B&W analog photograph, Anxiety. Lily Barth, of Concord, earned a Silver Medal for her novel, “Til the Sun Drips Blood.” Both students earned Gold Keys at the state level to qualify for judging at the national level.

Works were judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice. Photography Teacher Rosie Prevost and English Teacher Jennifer Mackenzie were also recognized for their students’ efforts and support.

Prevost, who teaches Kay’s Advanced Arts Photography class said, “Kay has a connection with photography and is dedicated and passionate about it. I am thrilled that she has received this honor and I hope that she inspires other students to pursue their artistic interests.”

Mackenzie, who teaches Lily’s Advanced Creative Writing class said, “Lily worked tirelessly last spring to create a finished, polished science fiction novel in Advanced Creative Writing class. She set incredibly high standards for her work, and she absolutely deserves this accolade!”

Headmaster Sharon Howell said, “We couldn’t be more proud of these young artists and the teachers who have helped them to find their voices — in this case, Rosie Prevost in photography and Jenny McKenzie in creative writing; it is such an important time for students to be able to express themselves creatively, and these teachers provide the space for it.”

In total, nine Vermont students have been selected as 2021 National Award recipients in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, with four winning Gold Medals and five receiving Silver Medals. The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) is the Vermont affiliate for the annual awards program. According to BMAC Exhibitions Manager Sarah Freeman, participation in the program has grown steadily since its inception. For this year’s awards, 157 Vermont students submitted 594 works of art and writing.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is a prestigious national recognition program for aspiring visual artists and writers. Each year, students in grades 7–12 are invited to submit art and writing in dozens of categories. Since its founding in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have nurtured the talents of many creative visionaries. Past winners include Truman Capote, Lena Dunham, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, John Updike and Andy Warhol.

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