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Carthage student’s artwork to be judged at international level

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CARTHAGE — Carthage Central School has graduated its fair share of sports stars. But as an eighth-grader, Keely O’Connor has begun to make her name in the art world, most recently by having a piece submitted for judging at the international level in the Lions Club International Peace poster contest.

“Coming from a small town where there’s not a lot of artists, I don’t have a lot of artistic confidence,” said Keely, whose piece recently advanced past “multiple district,” or state, judging. “When everyone else is playing a sport and you’re just drawing, this is pretty amazing. Being recognized by this is a very high achievement.”

Keely already had passed the first two rounds of the contest — local and district. As a finalist, she will be featured in the Lions Club newspaper.

According to the Lions Club website, at the international level, judges are made up of people from the art, peace, youth, education and media communities. One grand prize winner will be selected and receive $5,000. There will be 23 merit award winners who receive $500 cash awards.

“I wanted to freak out,” the 13-year-old said about when she heard the news. “But my art teacher was near me so I tried not to.”

Keely receives private art lessons from Carthage High School art instructor Robert Renaud.

“It’s very new and it’s crazy,” said Keely, who had not expected her piece to advance. “The next judging round is in February.”

She has been perfecting her skill over the past year, attending Interlochen Center for the Arts summer visual arts program last summer. Interlochen is a prestigious art academy in Michigan.

The contest is open to youth ages 11 to 15. The theme of the 2014-15 contest is “peace, love and understanding.”

Keely O’Connor is the daughter of Kellie T. O’Connor, Deferiet, and David C. O’Connor, Carthage.

For additional information on the contest visit www.lionsclub.org.

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