They may not get a certificate and recognition on the loudspeaker, but some Barberton HS kids deserve our recognition for staying true to their art and themselves
words and photos by Mary Menzemer
Barberton used to get a bad rap. Let’s be honest. Lately however, it seems like all of our previous notions about the town are doing a complete 180. In the last year or so, I have heard only of the awesome, creative things that young people are doing to make their town one that is more involved in the lives of its people and a more artistically fulfilling place to live.
In order to find high school students in art classes for this piece, I contacted several local high schools mostly in the Akron Public School district asking them if they had any kids who were outstanding art students and if they were willing to set up a meeting with them. Out of the six or so teachers and administrative personnel I contacted, only one responded: Ron White, art teacher at Barberton High School.
From the art students I spoke with, to the three high school girls organizing the Fourth Friday event, it is evident that young people in Barberton are running their own revolution, one that is dedicated to individuality and creativity.
Xavier Adkins Senior, Barberton High School
“I do pencil shading because I’m colorblind. There’s a piece that I’m currently working on of an angel holding a shield. I’ve been working on it for a week because I only have an hour a day to work on it. I’m thinking I want to go to college to be a marine biologist, but keep drawing on the side as a hobby. I like art because it helps when I get stressed. It helps me with how I think. I enjoy it, but it helps clear my mind too. I’ve been ice carving a lot too. I want to do everything with ice. My favorite thing in the world is water. I won’t drink it, but I like doing water things. And when everyone’s asks, ‘Why won’t you eat fish or anything?’ I always do the joke, ‘I don’t eat my kind.’”
Jazmin Jackson Freshman, Barberton High School
“Art is a great way to express yourself and put your feelings on a piece of paper. I draw a lot of characters, mostly Japanese animation characters. I draw them in different mediums and different styles; some are realistic and some aren’t. I do want to get involved in professional art, and I’m excited to be in high school because I see an opportunity to get really involved in that. I make Japanese dance videos online with 3D animation also. I want to make art a part of my career, whether I get into art therapy or be an animator. I love it so much and wouldn’t care how much I get paid for it; I just want to do it every day.”