Photo: Steve Thurston
Jina Davidson thought last year was the pinnacle.
The Wakefield High School photography and art teacher said that with three of her students as finalists in the county decal competition--there are only four finalists--and with her student, Maya Giacobbe, ultimately winning the honor, certainly that was a great height, especially since her student Providence Smith had won in 2010.
But this year all four final competitors were hers. Maya Giacobbe was among the four for a second year in a row.
The contest itself might not be terribly well known throughout the county, but the winner's work is. The winning image ends up as a decal affixed to all 155,000-plus vehicles registered in the county. The four finalists had been winnowed by citizen judges from a field of 36 county high schoolers, the county said.
It was Davidson's advanced photography student, Jeppe Callander, an exchange student from Norway, who took the top prize. He won with “Silent Memories,” a picture of the Pentagon memorial taken in the early evening of Sept. 9, 2011, just two days before the 10th anniversary of the event.
With his Nikon D700 on the tripod, he set the shutter speed so low the benches in the photo glow, and lights on an airplane’s wings dot-and-dash a line through the dark sky. It was a photo he said he took for his mother to show her what the Pentagon looks like. Almost 2,000 people cast ballots on the county website, and his image won. All four finalists won $500 savings bonds.
With talent like his, and with other students winning prizes, maybe this year is the top.
Prizes Beyond the County
Davidson is quick to say that she has not taught Jeppe (pronounced “Jeppy”) much; he had talent before he arrived. But if she hasn’t taught him much, other evidence would suggest she is doing something right.
For instance, this year a batch of 11 students have been awarded regional gold keys in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition, not the first year her students have been standouts in this competition.
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers "identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent" and brings their work to a national audience, the alliance's website says.
Last year, Madeline Brophy was a student who took a gold key locally in those awards, and then she and another ninth grader from Texas earned “Best in Grade-Art” honors at the national competition, besting about a dozen other regional winners from across the country.