Oak Knoll Students Win Prestigious Photography Awards

Seven Oak Knoll students join the likes of John Lithgow, Stephen King, and Andy Warhol in being the recipients of Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The students — members of Lisa Rosen’s Upper School Honors Portfolio Photography (seniors) and Digital Photography (juniors) classes — and their awards are: Katherine Burke ’23 (Honorable Mention for “Good Evening”), Gabriella Cilli ’23 (Honorable Mention for “Foggy Faith”), Katherine Cugno ’23 (Gold Key for “Undertow”), Jane Finney ’24 (Honorable Mention for “Silver Lining”), Ava Racich ’24 (Gold Key for “Pay Here”), Mia Vigliotta ’23 (Silver Key for “5:18 am”), and Elise Wojie ’24 (Gold Key for “Floral Shield”).

 “I love showing people how I view the world, especially when I’m in nature. My photo was originally taken in color, but I converted it to black and white. I did this to make my photo look otherworldly. I am very dedicated to photography and when I won the award, it made me feel like I was recognized not only by my peers, but other photographers and artists as well,” said Gold Key Winner Elise Wojie ‘24

Gold Key winners are automatically considered for national awards which are held at a gala in New York City each year. They will also have their art featured in an exhibition at Gallery Aferro in Newark from March 4-25. All of the Oak Knoll award winners will be invited to attend the opening reception for the show.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are open to all teens in grades 7-12 (ages 13 and up) who can apply in 28 categories of art and writing. Students are judged without knowledge of their gender, age, ethnicity, or hometown and judges are some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts.

 Jurors look for works that model originality, skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Judges are looking for work that demonstrates an authentic outlook and transcends typical classroom assignments and social media trends.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards turn 100 this year and are the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. The program also recognizes the role arts educators play in the cultivation of this creativity.

“My photo that won the gold key award was taken during a walking field trip that my photo class took to downtown Summit, New Jersey. It was an open assignment because we didn’t have anything in particular to shoot. I was able to get some shots of things at different interesting angles. The photo of the parking sign is an example. I was drawn to that spot because of the vivid colors of the sky and rusting parking booth. It was such a simple photograph, yet it remains visually appealing. It’s one of my favorite photographs and I was surprised when it won a gold key award. I am excited that people love the photo as much as I do.” said Gold Key Winner Ava Racich ‘24.

Congratulations to these budding artists!