BY KARISSA MILLER
Cool Spring Elementary fifth-grader Nora Boots was recently named the first-place winner of the North Carolina Scholastic Visual Art Showcase in mixed media and her school won third place.
Art teacher Lauren Lewis said that students had to draw inspiration from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” which states: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
In Nora’s opinion, this verse means that “choosing the road less taken by people can create opportunities and change the course of a person’s life in a good way.”
Under the guidance of her art teacher, Nora created a collage featuring a watercolor background, incorporating yellow and orange hues for the path and construction paper cut-out trees.
She used markers and colored pencils to create texture on the trees and bushes and then cut out a picture of herself walking into the collage.
“Mrs. Lewis took a photo of me in a walking stance. So I used a silhouette picture of me, which I thought was pretty cool,” she said.
Nora said that it was a fun project, and she was honored to win first place.
“I was extra super excited to find out I won. I was pretty proud of that piece. I thought it was simply another art project in class. I didn’t expect that I would make it into the competition — yet alone winning the competition,” she said.
Nora, 10, is a gifted student who takes a sixth-grade reading class. She likes the visual arts, but also is passionate about performing arts, including ballet. She is a member of her school’s robotics team. Her favorite subjects are math, science and art.
Nora credits her parents as an inspiration to her creativity, and said art is one of her favorite ways to express herself.
“Sometimes I tend to bottle things up, and art is a good way for me to express my feelings. It’s just fun in general. I think art is important. It’s like therapy to me. There’s so much personality in the art you make. It differs from each person, and I think that’s really awesome.
“If you choose to do art, you can let what you are thinking out on the page. Even if you aren’t good at art, a sketch or two can really help you feel better,” she added.
Lewis said Nora is an exceptional student.
“Nora is really hard working. She spent a little extra time on it and missed enhancements. I’m really proud of Nora for trusting her creative ideas, and she came up with the cut-out idea herself,” she said.
Lewis said that students first had to learn and understand the poem before they could create their art pieces for the competition.
“At first, I was a little reluctant because it’s a Robert Frost poem, and it’s a big poem to break down and grasp,” she said.
Students in each grade level used the selection to create various art projects. For example, one group drew half of their face as an adult, taking two different paths. One student created half of his project as an astronaut and the other version of himself as an artist.
This is the first year that elementary schools were invited to participate in the competition.
“Cool Spring prides itself on offering rigorous academics for their students but also growing the ‘whole’ child. We love seeing children’s talents flourish with the expertise from our entire staff,” said Principal Jennifer Dalton.