Student artists focus on sustainable water

Published 12:22 am Friday, February 11, 2022

Rory Rockwood said she wanted her artwork, “Every Last Drop,” to represent the loss of all resources and wasting them. Her Nansemond-Suffolk Academy classmate, Kennedy Dryden, wanted her poem, “Shore Invasion” to denote shorelines becoming shorter due to global warming and sea level rise because of melting glaciers.

The two seniors excelled at what they produced and earned best-in-show-honors, Rockwood taking the art award and Dryden the literary award, at the Sister Cities International’s 33rd annual Young Artists and Authors Showcase, held after a year’s absence with the theme, Generation Rescue: Sustainable Water for All.

Bruce Spiro, president of Suffolk Sister Cities, praised the roughly 150 students who created artwork for the show, saying it was wonderful to have the event again after a year’s absence due to COVID-19.


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“To have a theme that’s established on the national level and everyone on a local basis puts their heart and imagination into it, we’ve had some great representation at the national level,” Spiro said.

Dryden said her poem came to her quickly — it took her about 10 minutes to write. She learned she could do it for extra credit, and then after that she looked to make the poem rhyme, so she rhymed every two lines. She said it flowed easily, crediting her NSA English teacher, Kelly Jenkins, and her parents for having her go to the school.

“I go to the beach a lot, and I pick up the trash, and I’ve noticed a lot of animals and I’ve seen some dead sea life,” Dryden said, “because I also know a lot of people that live there, that are being forced to move out due to flooding and I just wanted to highlight the fact that no matter what we do, unless we all decide to work together, we can’t reverse the issue, and it’s not just in the Outer Banks, it’s all over the world.”

For Rockwood, she originally visualized Earth as something drastically different.

“I wanted to visualize taking every last bit we can from Earth,” Rockwood said, “and originally, the Earth was actually a hot dog, and I put Earth instead of a hot dog.”

Spiro said this was the right time for the event to return.

“We just had to respond to the times,” Spiro said. “And this was the right time for this, and the kids were excited about it.”

The committee assistant chairwoman for the Young Artists and Authors, MaryAnne Persons, said the judges were impressed about the talent on display at the city’s schools.

“It’s why some categories have so many honorable mentions,” Persons said, “that they realize the work that goes in because of their backgrounds, but also recognize what great talent we have.”


Sister Cities International 33rd annual Young Artists and Authors Showcase Honorees

Best in Show, Art Award: Rory Rockwood, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Every Last Drop”

Best in Show, Literary Award: Kennedy Dryden, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Shore Invasion”


2D Mixed Media Honorable Mention: Gianna Rivera, John Yeates Middle School, “Balance of Water”

2D Mixed Media Honorable Mention: Christina Tabet, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Drip Drop Horray”

2D Mixed Media Honorable Mention: Danielle Schreiner, Nansemond River HS, “Mother Earth”

2D Mixed Media 3rd Place: Lucy Morgan, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Mother Nature”

2D Mixed Media 2nd Place: Kaleb Morton, King’s Fork HS, “What We’ve Done”

2D Mixed Media 1st Place: Kayla Bennett, King’s Fork HS, “Destroyed Beauty”


Photography/Computer Art Honorable Mention: Ryan Nelms, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Water Level Zero”

Photography/Computer Art Honorable Mention: Charlotte Kruger, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Water Clock”

Photography/Computer Art Honorable Mention: Joey Brooks, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Oil Spills”

Photography/Computer Art Honorable Mention: Becca Duggan, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Rising Waters and Temperatures”

Photography/Computer Art 3rd Place: Faith Paige, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Going Once”

Photography/Computer Art 2nd Place: Hope Garcia, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Divergent”

Photography/Computer Art 1st Place: Bradleigh Duman, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Does iit Even Matter?”


Paintings Honorable Mention: Camdyn Sutton, Nansemond River HS, “World’s Waters”

Paintings 3rd Place: Alli Walls, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Drought”

Paintings 2nd Place: Madison McVey, Nansemond River HS, “Raining Kindness”

Paintings 1st Place: Kyla Mazier, Nansemond River HS, “Connecting Hands”


Drawings Honorable Mention: Faith Hedger, Nansemond River HS, “The Girl in Water”

Drawings Honorable Mention: Lily Petry, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Still Waters”

Drawings Honorable Mention: Cameron Skiba, Nansemond River HS, No Title

Drawings Honorable Mention: Lily Fox, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Sun Touched Stream”

Drawings 3rd Place: Max Dorsey, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Tick-Tock”

Drawings 2nd Place: Ashanti Beale, Nansemond River HS, “Hands Protecting Life”

Drawings 1st Place: Emma Conrod, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “One in 10 People”


Poetry Honorable Mention: Josh Morris, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “We Need Water”

Poetry Honorable Mention: Kyle Pfrang, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Finite Beauty”

Poetry Honorable Mention: Jacob Wolfe, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Climate Change”

Poetry Honorable Mention: Aubrey Conway, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “The Air and the Seas”

Poetry Honorable Mention: Anne-Perry Harrell, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “As the World Crumbles”

Poetry 3rd Place: Marlin Price, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Element of Our Life”

Poetry 2nd Place: Molly Leavy, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Element of Our Life”

Poetry 1st Place: Connor McGhee, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, “Water Preservation”