National Gold Recognition and Artistic Accolades for RL Boys

Each year, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, in partnership with more than 100 visual and literary arts organizations across the country, accept submissions from teens in grades 7 through 12 for their Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Hundreds of thousands of art and writing submissions across 11 categories are judged based on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice. Roxbury Latin senior, Miguel Rincon, not only earned Gold Key recognition in the regional competition for his short documentary film titled LoPresti Park, but his film also won a Gold Key Award in the national competition. Even more impressive, Miguel was one of only six students in the country selected to win the 2021 Civic Expression Award. This award is the highest honor presented annually by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and it comes with a $1,000 scholarship. (Read more about Miguel’s prize-winning film, and view it in its entirety.)

As a Civic Expression Award winner, Miguel and his work will be highlighted in the program’s anthology, The Best Teen Art of 2021, in the Awards’ Online Galleries. Recipients of the Civic Expression Award also receive recognition in the Awards’ National Ceremony, which will be presented virtually this year on June 9.

Four other RL students found success in this year’s Scholastic Regional competition: James McCurley (III) earned a Silver Key for his science fiction writing submission titled Soup and Stories; Alex Uek (I) won an Honorable Mention for his drawing Unmatched; George Madison (II) earned an Honorable Mention in Photography for his piece titled Spiraling; and Joseph Wang (IV) earned an Honorable Mention for his poem Snow Showers. Several talented Roxbury Latin students earn regional honors for their art and writing in the Scholastic competition each year.

In addition to winning a Gold Key award in the Scholastic competition, Miguel created a sculpture that was chosen as a winner in the 2021 Emerging Young Artists Exhibition, sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. Miguel’s clay sculpture, The Little Prince, was one of 88 works selected to be part of the exhibition, out of more than 430 submissions. This competitive, annual, high school juried exhibition recognizes the exceptional work of art students from high schools throughout New England.

The Little Prince was one of several pieces that Miguel created as part of his junior year Studio Art elective with Brian Buckley. Struggling with what exactly to make, he was inspired by the idea of creating gifts for people in his life—so that’s what he did. Out of wire, he crafted a hummingbird for his mother—her favorite animal; he made a wood-burning design of a horse for his grandfather in Colombia; and, out of clay, he crafted a sculpture based on the cover art of the French-language book Le Petit Prince, for his French teacher, Roxbury Latin faculty member Ousmane Diop.

“I tried to recreate the cover as well as I could, but I didn’t want to make it exactly the same,” says Miguel. Over the span of two marking periods, he shaped all the clay parts and fired them in the kiln. “Creating this sculpture took me a really long time, so as another studio project I did the painting for it—it was almost like a two-for-one project. As I was working on it, the head fell off the figure, and because I wanted to do something a little different, I thought maybe I should swap the head with the rose, and that it might look pretty cool. I didn’t plan for that to happen, but I liked the way it looked, and I thought it offered a different perspective.” While a photograph of the sculpture is part of the awards exhibit, the piece itself now lives on Monsieur Diop’s office desk.

Miguel will find out this spring how his documentary film, LoPresti Park, fared in the national Scholastic competition. In the meantime, Miguel will team up with classmate Brady Chappell as the two boys plan to create a documentary film on homelessness in Boston as their Independent Senior Project. “After having the opportunity to try out all these different media, filmmaking is still my favorite for now,” says Miguel.