Jack Welch was in Joshua Tree on an Environmental and Outdoor Education trip in November when he was struck with a rush of photographic inspiration.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment type of shot,” the Crossroads senior says. “I was looking around and thought that the composition of the distant sunset, the stars and the Joshua tree made for an interesting shot.”
The resulting image, taken on a tripod-mounted camera with a 15-second exposure, earned him a top prize in the regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.
“It was very exciting to learn that my work was recognized in such a big way,” Jack says. “Crossroads gave me the drive to learn more about what I enjoy in photography, as well as what I don’t,” Jack says. “I took that drive and turned it into a passion that I was excited to pursue every day.”
Jack was one of three Crossroads students to earn a gold key and one of 19 from the School to receive accolades in this year’s competition, which featured hundreds of thousands of submissions from students across the country in many different art and writing categories. Fellow senior Alexis Jenkins won a gold key in poetry with her piece
, “Dear White People,” while sophomore Alexandra Surprenant was acknowledged for her photography work.
All three students’ award-winning entries advanced to national judging in New York City, where Alexis was honored with a silver key.
Alexis, whose poem details injustices faced by African-Americans, says Crossroads has helped her develop as a writer and artist because she feels encouraged to take risks in her academic and creative endeavors.
“I felt incredibly proud because this was my first experience competing in any level of competition for writing,” she says. “It was quite a defining and empowering moment. To have a piece that represents my own experience as black individual in America place highly [in the competition] signals a hopeful future.”
Alexandra, who is taking courses in Creative Writing and Studio Art at Crossroads, was surprised to earn gold-key recognition for her photograph, “Morning,” which depicts a flying bird against a desert landscape.
“Both classes help in other areas as well and allow me to really challenge myself,” she says.