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Love of photography pays off

John HartNevada Union High School photography students (from left) Jen Lescher, Erin Clancy, Weston Walker-Knoblich and Chelsea Kauk ham it up after winning awards for photographs submitted in the third International Meeting of Juvenile Art. Sebastian Gotta, also an award winner, is not shown.
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Pleasantly shocked is the general feeling for some Nevada Union High School photography students and their teacher.

Five students from teacher David Arnold’s photography classes last year recently received notification they won gold, silver and honorable mention awards for photographs submitted in the third International Meeting of Juvenile Art – …vora 2002. …vora is in southern Portugal.

The students are Chelsea Kauk, Erin Clancy, Jen Lescher, Sebastian Gotta and Weston Walker-Knoblich.



Kauk, currently an NU senior taking photography classes for the third consecutive year, received a gold medal and an honorable mention.

“Pretty shocking,” Kauk said Friday. “I never considered myself one of the best photographers in the class; it was a definite accomplishment for my inner self. A total surprise.”




“It’s pretty amazing,” Kauk added. “Photography is my life, it’s my passion. This is my first time in a photography contest.”

Lescher, a junior, took her first photography class and entered her first contest last year. She won a gold medal for her efforts.

“Doing photography was a chance thing,” Lescher explained. “My stepmom took photography at Nevada Union and said it was a good thing. I ended up in the class last year by accident and loved it.”

Walker-Knoblich, a senior, considers the award quite an honor.

“I think it’s pretty incredible to be in an international show. I didn’t really expect to win; I was surprised,” said Walker-Knoblich, who will list this award on his college resume.

Nevada Union High School is the only venue from this country in the international competition. Other schools entering art include those in Argentina, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Portugal and Russia.

“I was pretty sure we would have works included in the exhibition,” said David Arnold, “but I didn’t expect to have so many exhibited and I didn’t expect us to win so many medals. It doesn’t usually work out that way.”

Approximately 55 NU students submitted 60 digital prints last year for the International Meeting of Juvenile Art; 43 pieces were accepted.

Arnold visited the second annual exhibit last October and was impressed with how government officials in …vora made sure the art was displayed prominently throughout the city. Arnold immediately encouraged his Nevada Union students to enter the competition upon his return to Nevada County.

As a result of Arnold’s encouragement of his students last year, this week’s International Meeting of Juvenile Art marks the first time his students have art displayed in a juried European competition.

To make the recognition even sweeter, Arnold, along with Kauk and Lescher, are packing their bags for an all-expenses-paid trip to the …vora meeting which begins Wednesday and ends Oct. 9. Airfare is courtesy of Nevada Union’s Associated Students; lodging and other expenses in Portugal are provided by the International Meeting of Juvenile Art.

“We want with this event to meet young scholar people from different countries. With the selected works, we make a great exhibition in the town,” noted Teodolinda Pascoal, the International Meeting of Juvenile Art’s founder-organizer and owner of the Teoartis gallery in …vora.

Meeting sponsors include …vora’s Town Council and the Ministry of Education.

Students attending the International Meeting of Juvenile Art from around the world will draw, paint and take photographs in picturesque, medieval-like …vora and Monsaraz during outdoor atelier settings.

Both of Arnold’s students plan to take advantage of the photo opportunities in Portugal by having their cameras with them at all times.

“I got a new camera with a telephoto lens. This will be with me for the rest of my life,” Kauk said. “This is my first time overseas. It’ll be an amazing experience. I’m very thankful to have such an opportunity.”

Likewise, Lescher will be armed with two cameras during her first trip abroad.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity, I’m really excited,” Lescher said.

Arnold is proud of his students’ work.

“It’s tremendously gratifying to see students’ works honored in this way,” Arnold said.

“We’re especially thankful to the (Nevada Union) student body for their support and their acknowledgment of this high student achievement.”


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