J-D Students and Teachers Earn Recognition at Scholastic

Olivia Byrnes, Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi

Editors of Production and Promotion

Jamesville-DeWitt High School Art Students swept the competition again at the Central New York Scholastic Art Show. With over 30 Gold Key Wins in photography, drawing, painting, and ceramics, J-DHS students sculpted their way to the top.

This year, Scholastic highlighted three seniors for their artistic excellence. Seniors Rebecca Shen, Maggie Mannion, and Emily Maar were recognized for their best pieces in painting and photography.. Maar won an American Vision Award, which was “basically a nomination for a national award,” she said. Mannion won the best portfolio for photography and was really surprised and excited. Shen also won for best portfolio, “I had more than eight pieces for my portfolio, but since Mr. Wenzel knew the competition he helped me to pick out the best ones,” said Shen. All three seniors were surprised by being recognized.

J-DHS Art teacher Carlos Benedict also won the OCC Nicholas Todisco Inspiration Award, which is given each year to a teacher who is recognized as someone who inspires their students to enter the Scholastic Art Awards annually and who is a credit to his profession. Mr. Benedict showed his deserving character as he shared his reaction to the award. He was honored however he was the last person awarded on stage and he thought that the last person on stage should be a student, not a teacher.“I am against the award because I don’t think the teacher should be the highlight of the award ceremony,” he said. His caring character displayed through his concern for his students is just part of the reason he was awarded. Co-Worker Carl Wenzel nominated him for the award, saying that Mr. Benedict is “a very deserving man.”  

In the photography category, J-DHS won 12 gold keys, including one for  Maggie Mannion who won a gold key for her portfolio that included eight photos along with four other pictures submitted separately. Junior Lizzie O’Brien won an honorable mention for her picture and said that her teacher, Lisa Troubetaris, helped her pick and edit the picture. “She really helps to pick out the photos that are the best,” said senior Jackson Kaplan. Kaplan submitted photos from his trip in Prague this summer and won a gold key for his picture of windows.

Art teachers Carl Wenzel and Carlos Benedict both guided their talented students to success, later submitting art pieces of deserving students. Among these were Michaela Lichtenstein who submitted a colored pencil drawing of roller skates and won a gold key. “It was really unexpected and I was really excited,” she said. Sophomore Lindsey Weir also won a gold key for a painting of croquet.

Along with the impressive accomplishments of photography, painting, and drawing, J-DHS students also won awards in sculpting. Sophomore Nikki Jiang won a gold key for her sculpture called “Darling Nan.” Senior Julia Fairbanks and sophomore Madelyn Spina also won honorable mention for their ceramic pieces.