Published : Monday, March 13, 2017 | 5:20 PM
They wrote from their hearts, explored what it means to be a teenager and delved into societal attitudes about children. Others took up their camera or paintbrush to capture a moment in time.
For their excellence in poetry, storytelling and the visual arts, 12 outstanding Mayfield Senior School students have won 41 awards and honors in the Scholastic Art & Writing program. The awards have recognized student achievement in the visual and literary arts since 1923 and are considered among the most prestigious in those subject areas.
The students are all members of Mayfield’s signature Conservatory for the Arts, an engaging, hand-on fine arts program that allows each student at the Catholic, all-girls school in Pasadena to develop her skills and passions for the arts. The conservatory includes nine disciplines including visual arts, creative writing, dance, music and theater.
Kemi Ashing-Giwa ’18, Hannah Rivera ’18, and Camila Toscano ‘ 17 — members of Mayfield’s Creative Writing Conservatory and journalism class — are Gold Key regional winners in writing.
In addition, six students — Sophia Alvarez ’19, Sadie Gilliland ’19, Elizabeth Nail ’18, Julia Nail ’18, Mikayla O’Reggio ’17, Laura Searcy ’18, — received honorable mentions and Silver Key prizes, bringing the school total to 23 writing awards. Students placed in poetry, fiction, personal essay, non-fiction and journalism.
In the visual arts, Mayfield students were recognized with 18 awards. Christianna Bethel ‘17, won three honorable mentions in painting, digital art and drawing. Alexia Saigh ‘20, won five honorable mentions in photography. Her sister, Ariana Saigh ‘18, won four Gold Key regional awards, four Silver Keys, and an honorable mention in photography and a Silver Key in painting.
Mayfield Gold Key winners now advance to national judging.
In praising her students, Kimberly Gomez, Mayfield’s Creative Writing Conservatory and journalism teacher, said that “it takes a lot of courage to share something as personal as writing. I admire the students for their honesty and dedication to their craft.”
Student authors said their inspiration came from writing about issues and topics that evoked strong opinions and feelings. They have pushed themselves to develop distinct voices as part of their Creative Writing Conservatory training.
“I was inspired by the juxtaposition of reality and the tales we tell younger generations,” said Ashing-Giwa, a Gold Key winner. “The purpose of my story was to address the flippant attitude society possesses towards children, and to bring to light the dangers that lie on the fringes of our imaginations.”
Toscano won two Gold Key regional awards for poems centered on the teenage experience—and this was the first time she has entered a writing contest.
“One poem is about being very tired in the morning and the other is about self-identity, two things that any teen can relate to,” she said. “Whenever I write poetry I try to find specific visuals and adjectives that recall an indescribable mood. Poetry is one of my strong suits and this was such a great experience!”
Ariana Saigh, who is a member of Mayfield’s Film and Media Conservatory and Photo 1 class, said she especially enjoys fashion photography and taking candid shots that capture a moment while traveling or while visiting with her 93-year-old grandmother, affectionately known as “YiaYia.”
Her teacher, Paul Tzanetopoulos said Saigh has strong “visual and compositional sense” and both sisters have a “marvelous eye” for photography.
Mayfield Senior School, 500 Bellefontaine Street, Pasadena, (626) 799-9121 or visit www.mayfieldsenior.org.