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lifelike ladybug

Inspired by "pop art" and character illustrations, Mackenzie Fazio's (right) colored pencil drawing of a ladybug (above) won first place at the 12th Annual New Jersey Association for School Business Officials (NJASBO) Conference. Story below.

Mackenzie Fazio

Submissions from High School North, Pine Beach also considered

July 12, 2023-- Intermediate East's budding artist Mackenzie Fazio was recently awarded first place for her artwork submission at the 12th Annual New Jersey Association for School Business Officials (NJASBO) Conference. The lifelike, colored pencil drawing of a ladybug was one of many submissions by middle school students from across the state, and the drawing ultimately won the middle-school level for best overall piece of artwork.

In developing the idea for the drawing, Mackenzie drew inspiration from an article she read while researching about her new colored pencils.

“The ladybug gave me an opportunity to use my new colored pencils and really challenge myself in working on shading and the use of vibrant color,” said Mackenzie. “I am most proud of the three-dimensional water droplets and the illusion of reflection in the water.”

Mackenzie continues to refine her craft and feed her passion by drawing every day. She is inspired by the styles of “pop art” and character illustrations because of their imaginative use of color, and she is always exploring new mediums and canvases, working with markers, paint, clay, fabric, and even creating her own jewelry.  

So, what is next for Mackenzie? This summer Mackenzie will begin painting a mural on the wall of Intermediate East, part of a grant-funded initiative to design a creative display that represents what it means to be “Rocket Ready.”

In addition to Mackenzie’s winning submission, the Toms River Regional Schools Art Department submitted two other creative submissions at the high school and elementary level.

Recent High School North graduate Zoejane Burns entered a piece of artwork portraying the struggle of conflicting emotions using color theory to represent the various emotions. The faces are pulling away from each other, but remain one to represent this emotional struggle. 


Gabriella Appleby's self-portrait collage

Fifth-grade Pine Beach Elementary student Gabriella Appleby created a piece inspired by the works of New Jersey/New York native Bisa Butler. Gabriella crafted a self-portrait collage (above) in the art mediums of felt, fabric, and various other recycled collage paper to create one fluid piece of herself in an outside background.

Congratulations to Mackenzie on her big win, and to Zoejane and Gabriella for their talent in representing TR! 

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