Art and the study of the natural world are the top two things I always and will always love. When applying to middle schools, my choices came down to two schools: The Salk School of Science and LaGuardia. I fully understood that either school could cement my path in science or art, and I ended up choosing science. It was wonderful for a while, but the work kept piling up and overwhelming me to complete burnout. I did not hang out with anyone outside of school from 2017-2020. During this time, my love for art pretty much completely diminished. I barely drew anything other than little stars on the borders of my graph paper.

Towards the end of the school year, after a year of stress, tears, and mental health issues from the heavy load of work from Beacon High School, I came to a fork in the road. My grades were terrible, so my counselor gave me an option. I could either stay an extra year at Beacon High School or transfer to City-As-School High School. I realized that I couldn’t keep living like I was and decided to transfer to City-As-School, where I met one of my all-time best friends, Bee. We met through our internship at a community garden. In the mornings when we would get there before anyone else, Bee would offer to have me doodle with them in their sketchbook. And slowly, I started to love art more and more through doodling with Bee. Recently, I’ve found a deep love for ornithology, the study of birds.

Throughout the last school year at City-As-School, I let go of science and instead let myself be as creative as humanly possible. I learned about new mediums like welding and stone carving and only took art-based internships; it’s been the best year of my life. Recently though, I’ve been finding myself missing science and the natural world like an amputee missing a limb. I used to be passionate about the ocean and constantly studying it – I missed that mental stimulation.

There’s an overpass close to my home, and a huge flock of pigeons live underneath it for shelter. One day, when I walked by it, I noticed two pigeons sitting on the edge of the busy sidewalk. I was intrigued by the pair, so I got a closer look and realized it was one young pigeon (under two weeks based on its feathers) sitting next to a fully matured dead pigeon. Pigeons are typically cared for until they reach 2 weeks of age which is when they leave the nest. There wasn’t anything I could do to help, so I walked on. I came back the next day, and the body of the dead pigeon was gone, but the young pigeon stayed in the same exact place. It stayed there for a couple more days until one day it was gone from its spot. It looked to be close to the age where it would leave the nest, so if a predator got to it or if it went on living is really up to anyone’s judgment.

That situation sparked my deep love for ornithology and a love and fascination with the life of pigeons. I’d love to be able to draw birds more accurately and realistically, as a perfect mix of both of my loves.

City-As-School High School
Cornelia T. Bailey Scholarship-2022

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