Two senior photography students at Carroll High School, Sabine Croy and Alyvia Luong, have been selected as finalists in the photography division of this year’s National YoungArts Competition. The awarding organization, National YoungArts Foundation, is a nonprofit that identifies and supports emerging artists across 10 disciplines.

Croy and Luong were chosen as two of 15 photography students out of nearly 7,000 who applied nationwide. They are awaiting information about further recognition as their work advances and will be judged and awarded merits accordingly. Their photography will also be considered for nomination in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

“I am so thankful that I have been selected as one of the finalists to represent photography,” Croy said. “The YoungArts Foundation is so amazing and has numerous opportunities for high school students like me. I am so excited to be mentored by internationally recognized photographers and other artists and to get the chance to grow even more. Being selected as a finalist really proves to me that my hard work has paid off these past years as I have grown as an artist.”

While at Carroll, Croy has received several awards through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She has received three National Medals, two of those being Gold Medals, and one Silver; the National Civic Expression Award; and many regional awards over the past few years.

Croy has also shown her artwork in more than six states, and locally at Wunderkammer Company in Fort Wayne, Garrett Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, University of Saint Francis, Huntington University, Purdue University (West Lafayette), the Fort Wayne Congressional Building and more. She plans to double-major next fall in art education and photography.

Similarly, Luong has received multiple awards through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She received one National Silver Medal, the National American Voices Award, six Gold Keys, nine Silver Keys and several national honorable mentions. Luong was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Photography Award from the University of Saint Francis. She had her first local show through Fort Wayne Comfort Zone in downtown Fort Wayne this year, and she plans to pursue art and entrepreneurship as her career.

“It’s funny actually, I grew up telling everybody I would be an artist one day, and here I am,” Luong said. “There are four rounds of elimination you have to surpass to be selected as a finalist, and it’s absolutely crazy to see I got this far. I invested months of my time into my YoungArts project. It feels like a literal dream.”

Croy and Luong have been invited to attend the official YoungArts mentorship week from Jan. 3 through Jan. 9, about eight to 10 hours each day, virtually. The program will be led by internationally recognized artists in the field of photography.

Nicole Croy, Carroll’s photography teacher, said this is the first time she’s had students reach this level in this national competition.

“This recognition speaks volumes about their talent. Sabine and Alyvia are two of the hardest working individuals that I have had in many years. They spend countless hours perfecting their skill, and reworking assignments until they are completely satisfied,” she said. “Usually students walk into their senior year and produce their portfolio of work over the 10-month school year, but not Sabine and Alyvia. Both of the girls spent countless hours on their photography concepts over the summer and walked into school in the fall semester with their portfolios for YoungArts nearly complete.”

The YoungArts competition focuses on emerging artists ages 15-18 through an application-based award which is selected via a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists. YoungArts winners receive financial awards, creative and professional development by working with renowned mentors, and eligibility for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

According to submission requirements, each portfolio should demonstrate original thinking and a willingness to take creative risks. While it is expected that artists will consult with teachers in the selection of portfolio material, YoungArts Foundation urges students to submit work they feel best represents their personal creative interests from work ideally done outside of class.

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