By Isadora Decker-Lucke
Each year, art teachers enter their student’s artwork into the Boston Globe sponsored Scholastic Art Awards.
Thirty Manchester Essex students placed at the regional awards this year. Two students, Maddy Smith and Willy DeConto, moved on to receive national silver medals for their artwork. They were the first students from Manchester-Essex in five years to receive national recognition.
Smith, a sophomore, entered a black and white photo of her brother shirtless and wearing a clip-on tie.
“It’s called Play. It wasn’t put together or highly thought out. It was just a weird moment in time I somehow captured,” Smith said.
Her photo won a Boston Globe Gold Key, and was then chosen out of other gold keys to receive a national award. Smith will travel to New York on June 1 to be recognized.
Caroline Epp is the photography teacher, who entered Smith’s photo in the contest. “I didn’t know if they’d absolutely hate it because it’s odd and unexpected, or if they’d think it was genius. I try to enter some that are really strong conceptually, and then I throw in a few cool but weird ones like Maddy’s,” she said.
“I had forgotten Ms. Epp even entered the photo. I was like wait, what?” Smith said. “I am proud I got an award for my photography.”
“I’m really proud of [Smith]. She’s blossomed a lot in her photography,” Epp said.
DeConto also won a silver medal. His piece was “a combination of carbon transfers, block printing, and colored pencil,” and it “doesn’t really have a focal point, but its overall theme is the subway and public transportation,” he said.
Like Smith, DeConto was also surprised by the award. “I wasn’t really expecting it so it was kind of surprising because I had forgotten about it,” he said.
“I think it’s cool that high school kids have the opportunity to show their work with other students from totally different areas, and it seems like a great opportunity for people to check out art,” DeConto said.
DeConto will not be traveling to New York with Smith, but he did appreciate the chance to hear positive feedback about his artwork.