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All Roads Lead To New York

Naomi is a SoNYT alumna from Omaha, Nebraska who came to New York for the first time to participate in our Summer Academy program. The following summer she was invited back to the city to receive the local and national gold key and medal in the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition. We sat down with Naomi to find out more about her time after Summer Academy, her award and her successful journey back to the city.

A photo that you took during Summer Academy as part of our Photojournallism Challenge was chosen in the top 1% among 360,000 nationwide submissions to the Scholastic competition. How did you make this happen?

2020欧洲杯客户端下载It’s easy to be weighed down by self doubt. Entering a competition of this magnitude was an exercise in feeling proud of what I create. I never anticipated to make it to the national stage. It was with courage, determination, and pride, that I was able to press submit.

What were some of the steps you took towards this success?

2020欧洲杯客户端下载Success always comes when I least expect it. When I do have expectations, things never seem to work out. However, the biggest step I took towards this success was finally having the courage to put my work out there. The worst thing someone could tell me was “no.” Thankfully, Scholastic gifted me with a “yes.”

How did you feel coming back to the city to receive the award?

Making my way back to the city in less than a year is something I’m never going to forget. It was surreal to know that I had taken the skills I had learned from The School of The New York Times and turned them into an award winning ticket back to the city. Last summer, I came to New York City alone. I loved the freedom I felt running around the city with other students at The School, but returning with my two biggest supporters, mom and dad, was all I could ask for.

How was the ceremony?

An old teacher of mine used to say, “Getting to Carnegie Hall is how you know you’ve made it.” While I don’t think I’ve quite “made it” yet, I feel like I’m on my way. Listening to Tina Fey speak, seeing my photograph be projected in front of the audience, and sitting in the crowd as an award winner was more than I could ask for.

Reflecting back, what would your advice be for a student who is contemplating applying for Summer Academy or SoNYT today?

Everyone starts somewhere. Omaha, Nebraska was my starting point, but my acceptance into The School of The New York Times was my launching point. The spring before attending the school, I started a personal blog to archive my photography and writing. Since attending, my platform has grown, I’m more confident in myself as an artist, and it’s boosted my motivation to throw my art into the world. For anyone wanting to apply, know that you have to start somewhere- just don’t be afraid to open doors for yourself.

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