Art scholars

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2005

King’s Fork students get annual award

By Jason Norman

Melanie Libbey must have enjoyed winning the Suffolk Art League Chip Picot Memorial Scholarship last year. Last fall, she applied to get it again.

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Much has changed for the King’s Fork High School junior in the past 12 months. She enrolled at the Governor’s School for the Arts, and plays the flute in the school orchestra, which played on the National Public Radio show &uot;From the Top,&uot; and won the Heritage Music Festival in April in Montreal. Libbey, who started playing the flute as a sixth-grader at Forest Glen Middle School, played in the Nansemond River High concert band in her freshman year before switching schools.

Meanwhile, fellow King’s Fork student Ashlee Jackson was honing her own artistic craft. Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Milton Liverman used her drawing of a bird in a snowfall on the Christmas cards he sent to Suffolk’s school faculty last winter, and her self-portrait was displayed in the School Administration Office.

Both girls and several of their schoolmates applied for the scholarship, named in honor of the late son of one of the league’s board members. In March, education chairman Susan Rawls, Lakeland High’s former choir instructor, and the rest of the board sat down to decide who would get the 11th annual award.

&uot;Becoming friends with so many talented musicians who truly love music as much as I do and watched them aspire to become what they’ve always dreamed has let me know that I am meant to do the same,&uot; wrote Libbey in her application essay.

&uot;I’ve already begun preparation for these auditions, spending nearly all of my free time practicing what I know to help me reach my goal.&uot;

Her drive made quite the impact on the board, said administrative assistant Linda Bunch.

&uot;What impressed the committee was Melanie’s absolute dedication and passion to her flute playing,&uot; Bunch said. &uot;The judges look for someone who sees art as something they really want to do, and not as a passive thing.&uot;

Jackson sent along a Power Point document and several copies of her work.

&uot;Art has been my passion since pre-adolescence and that passion has been nurtured and matured her high school,&uot; read her essay. &uot;This scholarship would facilitate my goals, providing me with the means necessary to purchase art supplies, try new techniques and further increase my talent.

&uot;She obviously wanted it very badly,&uot; Bunch said.

Both ploys worked; the girls were picked as recipients of the scholarship, each receiving $500.

&uot;I just love doing art,&uot; said Jackson, who scored straight A’s in three of the four school grading periods last year. &uot;It doesn’t take much for me to draw. Everyone else looks at my work and says it’s so nice, but I just think it’s normal.&uot;

Just as her essay said, she used the scholarship funds for more supplies.

Libbey, who used last year’s award to get a new flute, said she’d use this year’s scholarship for a competition trip to that the Governor’s School musicians are planning for next spring.

&uot;Playing the flute has always moved me,&uot; said Libbey, who mentioned the New England Conservatory or the Manhatten School of Music for her potential future school choices.

&uot;It’s always made me happy.&uot;