MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Three Mamaroneck High School students recently won awards for their photographs and are headed to art schools in the fall to study photography at the university level.
Olivia Crum, a senior, won a top award for excellence for her piece titled "Trapped" at the Concordia College StArt exhibition, which runs through Jan. 27. The show features work from 30 high schools around Westchester County, Fairfield County (Conn.), Rockland County and the Bronx.
“I was really surprised because I went to the opening night but didn’t stay long enough for the awards,” Crum said about learning that she won. “I was so impressed with the other work that I saw there, I kind of assumed that I didn’t get anything, but then I got a letter. I was really excited.”
Additionally, Crum has received a four-year scholarship to attend the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to continue with her passion.
Carina Allen, also a senior, won second place in the Drexel University high school photography contest. Her work was shown among 1,825 images from all over the United States. Drexel’s College of Media Arts and Design will display Allen’s photo in its Philadelphia gallery next month.
Another student, Felicia O’Connor, was recently accepted into The School of Visual Arts in New York City for a degree in photography.
Mamaroneck High School Art Department Chair Kevin Klein attributed some of this success to the leadership offered by photo teacher Gwynne Bettencourt through the AP Studio Art (2D Design) program. The program was created to foster innovative ways of seeing the world and to develop students’ critical thinking skills, sense of invention, and technical abilities in a real-world studio setting.
“Through the medium of manual and digital SLR cameras, students learn about techniques, aesthetics, and various design skills to create arresting visual imagery,” Bettencourt said in a press release. “A variety of hands-on projects are explored, including sketchbook work, photographic collage, and various alternative processes.”
“I’ve always been really into art, but I didn’t pick up photography until ninth grade when I was in Photo 1, and since then it’s been a main interest of mine,” Crum said.
The MHS photography classes have grown in a short time, now serving more than 100 students annually, the release said. In the past two years, students have earned top awards at both the Mamaroneck Artists Guild Show and the Nikon & Photographer’s Forum Magazine’s “Best of College Photography” competition. This year, there are 30 students in Portfolio Development or AP Photography, the most senior level of the program.