West Bloomfield student wins national photography award

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 13, 2018

 Daisy Jaent, 14, an eighth-grader at Abbott Middle School, won a gold medal in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Her photo features a classmate and was originally taken for a class project.

Daisy Jaent, 14, an eighth-grader at Abbott Middle School, won a gold medal in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Her photo features a classmate and was originally taken for a class project.

Photo provided by Margaret Squires

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Sometimes, photographs taken on accident can be the best ones. That’s the case for a local middle school student who recently won a national competition for her photography. 

Daisy Jaent, 14, an eighth-grader at Abbott Middle School, earned a gold medal in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. 

The photograph that Jaent submitted was a portrait of a fellow classmate surrounded by blue and red lights. 

“At first we were playing around, but afterward we realized how the photo related to current events — we realized it had more of a cultural aspect,” said Jaent. “It sort of tied into the Black Lives Matter campaign (with) the red and blue lights with it; it really showed that off.” 

Jaent submitted a photo she had taken as part of a class project for her art class, taught by teacher Margaret Squires. 

“I do portrait photography with the kids,” said Squires. “I told them I wanted to submit their photographs to (the competition), and she decided on that one. ... Lots of students entered, but she was the only one who got into the regional competition.” 

Every year, Squires submits her students’ work to the regional competition, held at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, but this is the first time any of her middle school students has won a gold medal. 

“I’m very proud of (Daisy) and excited for her,” said Squires. “She’s a very interesting person, and I know that she’s going to do some really cool stuff. It’s great to see her acknowledged, and hopefully she’s inspired to continue her artistic pursuits.”

The national award recognizes creative teenagers across the country. Previous famed winners of the award include Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Sylvia Plath. 

This year, almost 350,000 works of art and writing were submitted from students in grades seven through 12. Less than 1 percent of all submissions receive a national medal. 

“I truly didn’t think I was even going to get a gold key (in regionals). … I wasn’t expecting it,” Jaent said. “I couldn’t stop smiling. I was so in shock about it.” 

Jaent said that while she enjoys photography as a hobby, she really enjoys drawing and digital art. In the future, she hopes to develop her photography skills. 

Jaent will travel with her family to New York City June 6 for a ceremony at Carnegie Hall. 

For more information on the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, visit www.artand  writing.org.

Call Staff Writer Maddie Forshee at (586) 498-1093.