When I was in eighth grade, I was happy to make a hotplate in shop class that didn't break under direct pressure. Which makes me all the more impressed — and envious — to see the animated short video (above), "Whatever Comes to Mind," by 14-year-old Jack Fagnant. The eighth grader at Browns River Middle School in Jericho was recognized recently with two 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
: a regional Gold Medal and an American Visions medal.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, founded in 1923, is the longest-running arts and scholarship program for teen artists and writers in the United States. According to its website, past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King and John Updike. Teens in grades 7 through 12 from public, private or home schools can apply in 28 categories of art and writing for a chance to win scholarships and have their works exhibited or published. In 2013, the awards received more than 230,000 original works from students across the country. This year, Fagnant was one of only 1,886 artists and writers to be recognized.
Fagnant (who deliberately misspelled his last name in the credits) says he spent about three hours a day for five days working on the stop-motion video, which he completed at summer camp last year. Then, at the start of this school year, he submitted to the statewide competition at the encouragement of his school's librarian.
Fagnant will travel with his parents, Marie Vea and Don Fagnant, to New York City for the June 6 award ceremony at Carnegie Hall, where a selection of nationally awarded art and writing will be on display. Nice work, Jack!