MARCH 2017
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA Artists Receive National Silver Medals


Demarest, NJ: Na Young “Neely” Lee and Margeaux Gould, two outstanding student artists from the Academy of the Holy Angels, have received National Silver Medals in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. Lee’s painting and Gould’s necklace were judged to be within the top 1% of the 330,000 works of art and writing submitted this year. 

Both students “unlocked” their chance to compete on the national level of this prestigious competition by winning Gold Key awards in the regional event.

Lee, a senior from Norwood, earned a National Silver Medal in Painting for her watercolor, "Saudade." This painting had already earned her the Gold Key in the regional event, where she also garnered two additional Gold Keys for sculpture and drawing/illustration, a Silver Key for a mixed-media piece, and an Honorable Mention.

Lee plans to pursue a career in design. To date, she has applied to several college art programs, and has been accepted to each and every one.

“Neely has shown her interest and love of art since freshman year,” said AHA Art Department Chair Jennifer Lee. “She has been recognized for her artistic talent each year she has been at Holy Angels with various competitions. It is no surprise that Neely has received this prestigious national award. She has been consistently committed to growing as an artist. She has taken all our suggestions as positive ways to grow and become a stronger communicator in her pieces. The art department has seen the excitement she has when making art and we are looking forward to what she will create in college.”

Asked about her interest in art, Neely Lee said, “I would say that everything in life has a meaning that varies according to the unique experiences of each individual and that’s where I get my inspirations. I feel lucky that my art can sometimes speak deeply to people. I love the fact that art has no single interpretation. Anyone can create their own stories from my work of art. I believe that this piece of art also spoke to various people.

“I feel so honored to receive this prestigious award. I would like to thank Mrs. Wraga (art and technology teacher Christine Wraga DeGennaro) who guided me through this and Ms. Lee for her everlasting support.”

Gould, a junior from Weehawken, earned her National Silver Medal in Jewelry for “Nailed to the Neck,” an edgy necklace for which she previously received the regional-level Gold Key.

“Margeaux is vibrant junior who shows leadership qualities and has been dedicated to her pursuit of a career in architecture since day one!” said DeGennaro. “Last summer, she was a student in the Architecture Program for High School Students at Columbia University, where she designed a hypothetical open-air theater for the High Line Park in Lower Manhattan. I look forward to having Margeaux as my student again next year in my AP Studio Art Class, where she will be part of the 2-D Design Portfolio group.”

Commenting on her creative process, Gould said, “I was inspired to create this necklace because I wanted to make a subject that is generally thought to be delicate and beautiful using harsh and industrial materials. I wanted to break the standards of thinking that beauty comes strictly from pretty objects by creating a beautiful piece from 'ugly' materials.”

Gould added that she and her parents were ecstatic when they learned she had won the national medal. 

The AHA Art Department faculty, including (Jennifer) Lee, DeGennaro, and Katherine Biskup, made the following statement: “We are truly blessed to have two talented artists take home medals this year! It's a reflection of their hard work, vision, and excellence that they were both recognized.”

The Scholastic Art and Writing Competition was launched in 1923 to honor teen writers and artists throughout the United States. Silver Medal winners from previous years have included Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford, Lena Dunham, and Paul Chan.

Since 1879, thousands of women have passed through the portals of Academy of the Holy Angels high school, the oldest private girls’ school in New Jersey. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts and athletics. Our goal is to provide each girl with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically, by offering a first –rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity and giving service to others.

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