The Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s 2019-2020 Achievement in the Arts Awards. Each year GCAC presents this scholarship award to graduating seniors who have excelled in the arts during their high school careers. The students are nominated by their teachers, and the gift is given in all areas of the arts available to the students at Northern and Southern Garrett High Schools.

“A vibrant and active arts community is vital to the health and happiness of humankind, and these young people give us hope for the future,” said Kathy Beachler, executive director of GCAC. “We at the Garrett County Arts Council congratulate each of these achieving, artistic students, and we wish them well as they strike out on their own paths.”

The 2020 Achievement in the Arts recipients are as follows: Choral Music: Alexis Cole, NHS, and Jocelyn Fredlock, SHS. Creative Writing: Lindsey Ward, NHS (there was no SHS nominee). Instrumental Music: Joseph Louie, SHS, and Liam Ness, NHS. Theatre: Keegan Pitts, NHS, and Brayden Warnick, SHS. Visual Art: Megan Lindsey, NHS, and Jocelyn Schoch, SHS.

Jocelyn Fredlock has excelled at Southern High singing various solos at arts festivals and performing lead roles in musicals such as ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Into the Woods,’” said Jason Shaw, band and chorus teacher at SHS who nominated Fredlock for the choral music award. “She has also been a member of the SGHS Marching Band for four years.”

The awardee will enter St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., in the fall, where she will major in cybersecurity administration. Throughout her four years at Southern, she was an active member of the marching and pep bands, and involved in numerous theatrical performances. “Footloose,” which was planned for this spring, would have been her sixth musical on the SHS stage. She planned to participate in her ninth Garrett County Public School Art Fair this spring.

“Participating in the arts definitely had a positive impact on my public school career,” she said. “It helped me make new friends and pushed me to step outside my comfort zone.” She also sang with the Garrett Choral Society made up of singers of all ages from across the county, and said she learned a lot from working alongside more seasoned singers.

Megan Lindsey, winner of the visual art award at Northern, was a student of nominating teacher James Paxton.
“It has been a pleasure to have Megan as an art student for the last four years,” Paxton said. “She had a strong desire to learn about art even before entering my classroom. Through every day, every project, and every challenge, she made efforts to absorb and extend every detail of all the art room experiences she participated in. Her pursuit of attaining artist skill and knowledge went beyond my classroom and the school day. She applied and utilized those art concepts and skills into her free time painting the landscapes around her.

“Megan has set her own art standards and goals higher than the art classroom expectations,” the teacher continued. “I am amazed at how much she has grown and developed artistically over the last four years. I have no doubt that she will continue to thrive as a fine artist for many years to come.”

Lindsey will attend Garrett College in the fall to study in the mathematics/science program. Having earned 26 college credits already, she will complete her associate’s degree in one year, and then transfer to West Virginia University, where she will enroll in the pre-veterinary program.

Throughout her public school career, she engaged in visual arts and in dance. Painting is her favorite medium. She was a student at Brenda’s Body Shop for 12 years, where she studied gymnastics, hip-hop, and jazz.
“Participating in the arts made my time in public school more enjoyable,” she said. “Art gave me a way to express myself and to relax after a long day of school work.” She added that she sees herself sketching and painting into the future. “Hopefully in 20 years I will have been able to travel around the world, giving me many more landscapes to paint,” she said. “My advice to anyone thinking about participating in any form of visual arts is to do it! You will not regret it. Never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough to express yourself through any form of the arts.”

Earning the award for achievement in instrumental music at Southern is Joseph Louie. Shaw nominated him for the honor.

“Joseph Louie has been the drum captain of the Southern Garrett Band his entire time at Southern,” Shaw said. “He is a born leader and strives to not only make himself better, but his section and the entire band. His leadership was instrumental in the band winning the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championship this season.”

Louie said band has been part of his life since the fourth grade, and that it allowed him to make many friends over the years. He also engaged in culinary arts at Southern. He has participated in various honor bands as well, which he said provided knowledge that will help him be a better performer, teacher, and person.

“Participating in the arts gave me a way to express myself — to show my passion and personality off that much more,” he said. “I would tell anyone interested in the arts that it is definitely worthwhile! Confidence is key, and remember that failure is the first step toward success.”

Keegan Pitts, graduate of Northern, was presented the Achievement in the Arts in Theatre Award, having been nominated by teacher Jennifer Virts.

“Keegan has been active in plays all four years of his high school career. He has held the lead role in several plays, including Bert in ‘Mary Poppins,’ the Lion in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Hysterium in ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and The D’Ysquith Family in our current (on hold) production of ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,’” Virts said. “Keegan is a triple threat, singing, dancing and acting at the top of his game. His energy on stage is infectious and he has a true passion and love for the art of theatre.”

Pitts will begin studies at the University of Arizona in the fall. He said his engagement with theatre throughout his years at Northern helped him to overcome many fears, and helped him cope with his personal life. He hopes to continue to act in plays, but also to become a theatre arts teacher to teens and children. He said he believes the arts offers avenues to self-expression for everyone.

“Participating in the arts was a life-changing decision for me,” Pitts said.

The honoree in visual art at SHS is Jocelyn Schoch, nominated by teacher Melissa Pyle.

“Jocelyn Schoch has taken and excelled in every art class offered at Southern High,” Pyle said. “Jocelyn has demonstrated passion, dedication, creativity, and originality through her countless artworks. Not only is she a great art student, she is a responsible, mature, kind, young lady. It has been a pleasure to have Jocelyn as an art student over the last four years.”

Schoch intends to begin classes at Potomac State College this fall. She will be enrolled in the business management bachelor’s degree program. She said being involved in the visual arts in school allowed her to express herself and showcase her creativity.

When asked how she might advise young people in the arts, she said she would tell them to “follow their own creativity.” “They don’t need to follow anyone else’s ideas,” she said. “Be confident in creating your own work.”

Northern graduate Alexis Cole is the recipient of the choral music award, having been nominated by teacher Ian Dively.

“Alexis proved to be a strong leader and never shied away from a challenge,” Dively said. “She always strives for excellence and always helped her classmates in need.”

This fall Cole will enter Garrett College. In addition to singing in high school, she is also a member of a praise team at her church. She said she hopes to continue with that group as long as she can.

“Being in chorus at Southern gave me so many opportunities, seeing New York City and making so many friends just being two of them,” she said. She encourages all students to find a place in the arts.
“Do it!” she said. “There are so many different forms of the arts and there is one for everyone.”

Brayden Warnick, a Southern High School graduate, was nominated for the theatre award by his teacher, Erin White.

“Brayden Warnick is a natural actor. He conveys character through gesture and nuance at a mastery level,” said White. “The audience always knows what he is thinking and feeling. He is also a natural leader. A cast will feed on his energy and positive encouragement. We were all witness to this as he took on the role of Jack Kelly, leader of the ‘Newsie’ uprising. Brayden was cast as Willard in what would have been his final show at Southern High. Since Brayden is attending WVU in the fall, I am inviting him back to play his role and hope we will all get another shot to see him back in that spotlight!”

Warnick also had lead roles in SHS productions of “Mama Mia,” “Sister Act,” and “Into The Woods.”
“Participating in the arts made my high school career more enjoyable and allowed me to take part in activities I never thought I would,” Warnick said. “I have developed an appreciation for the arts and as an adult will continue to appreciate artists engaged in these activities. My advice to younger students would be to step out of your comfort zones and try new things! If you are a student at SHS, Mrs. White is an amazing teacher and goes above and beyond for the students that she teaches.”

Warnick has been accepted at West Virginia University, where he will begin classes this fall.

Liam Ness, NHS graduate, was nominated by band teacher Dively to receive the achievement award in instrumental music.

“Liam is incredibly deserving of this award,” Dively said. “He is a strong leader and excels in all areas of music. On and off the stage, Liam strives for excellence and focuses on achieving his goals.”
Ness was in the marching band for four years and served as drum major for two seasons. He has been involved in the theatre program and chorus as well.

“The most beneficial thing I found from participating in these organizations is the friends I made. I was a transfer student my freshman year and had it not been for band, I would not have known anyone or made any friends for a while. Just being involved opened up my world to so many more people, views, and opportunities.”
Ness will enter West Virginia University in the fall and plans to graduate with a four-year degree. He hopes to become either a music teacher or tutor.

“Music will always be a part of me, no matter how old I get,” he said. His advice to young students just beginning in the arts is to “always try before you say no. It’s easy to get frustrated, especially if people around you are quitting, but don’t give up. The feeling you get when you step back and see what you have achieved is well-worth any temporary frustration.”

The achievement award in creative writing was to be presented to Lindsey Ward at Northern, but further information on the awardee could not be obtained. SHS did not nominate a creative writing student.

The Garrett County Arts Council, with the assistance of the high school arts teachers, strives to recognize and support students each year for achievement in the arts. The awards are traditionally presented during the annual student arts fair, but this year were sent out to each student separately as a result of the pandemic situation.

“The arts make a significant contribution to helping all students achieve success in school, work, and life,” said Beachler. “The Garrett County Arts Council wishes the best for our award winners and all our graduating Garrett County seniors. We look forward to their future successes!”