Students awarded for COVID artistic expression


Seated are student award winners Rebecca Bertera, Jillian Lemon, Lexi Monczka, Allison Kingsley, Brienne Seniez, and Robin Berry. Standing are Serena Shorter, SRS Assistant Principal, Mary Dee, Rotary President Elect, Ellen Miles, Rublic Relations director for both Southwick Rotary and Cultural Council, and Pat McMahon, Cultural Council Vice Chairman. (MARC ST. ONGE/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

SOUTHWICK – COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s life, and students at Southwick Regional School recently showed their personal impact through art.

The Southwick Rotary Club and Southwick Cultural Council sponsored an artistic expression contest at SRS, calling for submissions on the theme “How Covid-19 has Changed My High School Experience!” Submissions included artworks, essays and poems.

An essay by Brienne Senez took the first-place award, while drawings by Lexi Monczka, Allison Kingsley, and Robin Berry; and paintings by Jillian Lemon and Rebecca Bertera were also selected for prizes. Each student will receive a cash award from Rotary and the Cultural Council.

Senez wrote about her experience with remote learning, noting that she enjoyed it while many of her peers did not.

“I might be one of the only ones who likes learning this way,” she wrote, adding that her grades have gone up and she liked having deadlines and freedom to work on assignments whatever way she learns best. “I have felt so much more free because of this way of learning.”

Senez said during the past year, she took time to focus on what she likes and what career she wants to pursue, coming to the conclusion she would like to be a wildlife technician, an actor and a postal employee.

“If COVID-19 had never happened I would never have had these experiences,” she said. “I might still have arguments with my mom and sister and I would have never appreciated the time I have now and the high school experiences I’ve had.”

Senez said she realizes not everyone has not had the same experience.

“I wish everyone who is struggling with school luck and hope that things will get better for all of us soon,” she stated.

Rotary President Mike Parent and Cultural Council Chair Susan Kochanski said “the contest allowed an opportunity for students to chronicle their perceptions and experiences made during a year-plus long global pandemic. These expressions can be part of a history that no one can describe unless they experienced it.”

Parent said the lessons learned are “very important to share with our future generations. Lives on all levels changed dramatically in a short period of time affecting one’s work, home and personal life, education practices, community involvement, and the freedom that we all take for granted.”

The Southwick Cultural Council (SCC) is an all-volunteer local partner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency and is funded in part by the MCC and Town of Southwick.  The SCC is devoted to bringing engaging, entertaining, and educational events to the children and adults from Southwick and surrounding Communities.

Rotary Southwick are “People of Action” who share a passion for community service and friendship working together as volunteers under the motto of “Service above Self.”

The Southwick Rotary and Southwick Cultural Council sponsored an artistic expression contest at Southwick Regional School. The photos depict the winning student submissions. (SOUTHWICK ROTARY PHOTOS)

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