Howell senior wins Presidential Merit Scholarship to prestigious art school

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Howell High School senior Natalie Jenks has been accepted to the prestigious The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Additionally, Jenks has been awarded the school’s Presidential Merit Scholarship. Recipients of SIAC’s merit scholarships are selected based on a review of each student’s academic history, portfolio and artist’s statement. The Presidential Merit Scholarship is valued at over $100,000.

In late December Jenks received a package from SAIC marked “You’ve Been Accepted.” While that was exciting, she was in for a bigger surprise. An admissions representative from SIAC had told Jenks that she would not hear about scholarship offers until January, so she was not expecting to find a letter awarding her the Presidential Merit Scholarship in the package. According to Jenks, her reaction to learning about the scholarship was “a bit extreme.” “I started bawling my eyes out, so my mom was like ‘what happened, what’s wrong,’ then she started crying and my sister came down and was like ‘what is wrong with you people.’ It was really exciting and meant the world to me because I didn’t know if I would be able to go (to SIAC) until I got the scholarship,” said Jenks.

SIAC is an interdisciplinary school that does not have majors or minors. According to its website “SAIC is distinct in the way that it provides graduate, post-baccalaureate, and undergraduate students an interdisciplinary curriculum and the necessary freedom to develop as artists, designers, and scholars. At the same time, we strive for a level of rigor, investigation, and cultural relevance that makes SAIC truly special.” At SAIC, Jenks plans to focus on photography, mixed media and fiber arts.

While at Howell High School Jenks has taken several art classes including photography, 3-D Design, Advanced Drawing, Advanced Placement Art Studio and Ceramics. “My classes have really helped me and my teachers have meant the world to me,” said Jenks. “Honestly, without them, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing. They have always supported me and given me a push when I need it.”

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