Born and raised into a family of academic scholars I myself never fell into that category– school was never important to me. I never listened in class because I was too busy drawing all over my hands and legs, and I never did my homework because I got carried away watching YouTube tutorials on how to draw my favorite T.V. show characters. I would always hear about the accomplishments of my brother and sister and how my brother was second in the nation for debate and my sister getting flown to Washington for her astounding writing skills. They both had perfect grades their whole lives and as the youngest sibling I constantly felt pressured to live up to their legacy despite never really fitting in. As cliche as it sounds, I never really felt like I belonged until I picked up a pencil.

“Since that day, drawing had reappeared into my daily routine. I started seeing my drawings hung in the school walls and art had become my escape from this world. “

When I was in the seventh grade my mother, sister, and I made the decision to move to New York. This experience brought out a feeling I had never felt before–feeling unwanted. I started reaching for everything to fill the void my narcissistic father left behind when he chose substances over me. I felt like I had nothing and lost all the motivation to draw. I eventually started drawing with a silver pencil leaving behind red ink all over my wrists. I fell into a dark hole I thought I could not come out of. No matter what I did I never felt heard, so I decided to pick up a pencil again and draw out the overflowing thoughts in my head. That day I had made a drawing that brought tears to my mother’s eyes.

No matter how long the day seemed or how badly I felt I could play some music and paint the day away. It helped me express myself in ways I was never able to. Despite all this, the school I go to has little to no art programs. I believe going to the Art Students League would help me stay motivated and be on top of everything while being able to do what I love. It gives me hope that I could turn art into a living. This school gives many young kids a chance and a voice and helps me see myself as something other than another kid with a pointless dream. Seeing all the students and their stories on the website makes me feel like I belong.

Cunningham I.S 234
Spielberger-Spanierman Scholarship- 2022

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