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Liberty Photography Student Claims National Award | Arts & Culture

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Liberty Photography Student Claims National Award
Liberty Photography Student Claims National Award

By Nicole Kowalewski, Liberty High School


Junior Janelle McCarthy is not only one of the few individuals in the country that can say they’ve won a gold medal in a Scholastic Arts Competition, but she is also the only student in Liberty history to receive such an honor for photography.

Having taken the award-winning photo on a whim, McCarthy’s piece had no prior planning and originally wasn’t even considering submitting it.

“I really wanted this [award] and this is a big deal for me, so to win was really cool,” McCarthy said.

Photography teacher Tara Ferro said this competition is meant to represent a student’s best work. They are first judged at a regional level, and then have the opportunity to advance nationally.

“I am beside myself and I still don’t believe that [her winning] is real,” Ferro said. “I know I say it a lot, but words can’t express how proud I am.”

This was McCarthy’s first time entering in the Scholastic competition, but it was certainly not her first time in a photography contest. During her sophomore year, she won first place in Congressional, another national competition where her photo currently has the honoring of hanging in Washington, D.C.

“Janelle’s piece was selected as a gold medal winner, which means it was one of the best in the nation,” Ferro said. “Thirteen-thousand works were considered, but only 1,500 won gold.”

Along with her gold medal, McCarthy received the American Visions award and has the opportunity to fly to New York City to attend the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall during the first week of June.

“Sometimes simplicity [can be] technically excellent with composition and lighting, and I really think that’s what made it a strong piece,” Ferro said.

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