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Meghan Jones, a New Boston senior at Goffstown High School, won a silver award in the National Scholastic Art and Writing Award contest, with her drawing “Out of the Wild.” (Susan Clark Photo)


Goffstown High student from New Boston wins national art award

GOFFSTOWN — As Goffstown High School’s first Advanced Placement art studio student, Meghan Jones has received national attention for her artwork.

Jones, 18, a senior from New Boston, was recently awarded a silver award in the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest, with her color drawing “Out of the Wild.”

Jones said she has always liked to doodle, and sometimes got in trouble for drawing on her desk at New Boston Central School. She didn’t take art classes until her sophomore year and, although she was told she had talent by her friends and her parents, the award has given her a sense of accomplishment.

“The biggest thing is it’s very validating. I didn’t know if I was any good. I was just never positive this was the right thing for me to do, but I guess it is now,” said Jones.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards began as a writing contest with a $5 prize and six winning applicants in 1923. Today, more than 90,000 students in grades 7 through 12 from around the U.S. submit more than 185,000 works of art and writing in 28 categories. Winning students earn recognition, a chance to exhibit and publish their work, and earn scholarships.

Jones has dreams of being an animator, and possibly working for Disney.

“I really like to draw people but in a stylized way. Animation is a marriage between technology and art. My aunt sent me to a computer camp, but I didn’t want to set myself to a tech field so I like to join them together,” she said, adding her favorite medium is drawing with pen.

She may have inherited her art talent from her parents, Karen and Tim Jones. Karen, a special education teacher at New Boston Central School, used to be a preschool teacher and worked with arts and crafts. Tim is a lieutenant for the Londonderry Police Department, but he likes to draw superheroes – his favorite is Spiderman, said Jones. Her brother Lucas is a freshman at GHS who plays golf and baseball, and Jones said, “he’s a fantastic drummer.”

Music and sports also play a key role in Meghan Jones’ life. She plays field hockey and runs track, and plays bass clarinet for the concert band and tenor sax for the jazz band.

She also has been teaching clarinet and alto sax at New Boston Central School since her freshman year, which gives her a dual perspective on being a student and a teacher.

“I guess I’ve learned a lot. Going into freshman year, I played music so I have to think about how everything works, so it has made me a better musician,” she said.

School secretary, Nancy Kelleher, said Jones, her parents and her brother volunteer with Special Olympics.

“Meghan is more into the kids than herself. She’s been a volunteer since freshman year and she handles a lot of kids who have emotional needs. She kind of tunes into them somehow. She has a great heart,” said Kelleher, who coordinates the local Special Olympics in Goffstown.

Jones’ art teacher, Sandee Nichols, said Jones’ award is a big deal for her. Jones, she said, has worked very hard and is worthy of recognition.

“This is the first time a student is a winner of a national award,” said Nichols, who has taught at GHS since 1983. “I’ve had Meghan in many classes and it’s been a joy to see her grow and going from each level and seeing her through the college selection. She’s a brilliant student and it’s an honor to teach her because she’s easy to teach and receptive to ideas. We can rework something and re-evaluate the work, and she’s open to that.”

She said students like Jones give teachers pride because it’s good to see them be creative and original.

“I am grateful to have worked with her,” said Jones.

Jones said Nichols has helped her through the AP art studio studies.

“Ms. Nichols is a fantastic teacher. This year, I felt she sacrificed a lot. I’m the first one to try the program, and it’s been a learning process for both of us,” she said.

Jones has to submit a portfolio to the AP board – 12 art pieces to show her technical skills and different abilities, 12 pieces in a concentration focusing on one topic or direction that show her growth and movement toward that idea and how it evolves; and then five pieces of her best artwork.

By May 1, she has to make a big decision on whether to attend Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, or the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

“They’re both such great schools. I have no idea where I want to go,” she said.

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