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Nailah Garard - 11th grade 
$1,000 College Scholarship Winner
Half Hollow Hills High School East

My name is Nailah Garard, I am sixteen years old and I am currently a Junior attending Half Hollow Hills High School East. I am CEO and owner of N​ai Arts,​ which is a business that reflects a fusion of two of my passions, Art and Fashion. I design trendy and environmentally­ friendly t­-shirts on which I paint creative designs by hand. 

I am honored to be L​ong Isand’s Miss Community Queen​of 2014 where I was recognized by my volunteering efforts in my community.  I am apart of an organization called Energeia where I worked with other youth leaders to launch our campaign called S​.T.A.R.,​a campaign for the purpose of aiding young adults in their struggle with low ­self-esteem. 

I am honored to be working as a Peer Leader in the organization of    Y​our Time for Creative Empowerment, a nonprofit corporation that educates and empowers families through the use of art, fashion and culture. 

I am on the Varsity team of the Hills East Track and Field team. I​am currently President of the Model UN club, member of the National Art Honors Society, Amnesty, Art Club and devoted student in many honors and advanced placement courses.

To create my piece I used pastels on a lavender color pastel drawing paper. In context of the theme, I wanted to portray a victim of peer pressure. In regard to my piece, the girl's emotions expressed that of extreme loneliness, confusion, and utter terror. The girl is trapped in a strange forest filled with twisted trees and strange creatures. Her overwhelming emotions of fear and vulnerability entrap her in her own, enclosed dark world. 

This is a depiction of the emotions that a victim of peer pressure might experience. Victims of peer pressure feel absolutely afraid of being harassed or ostracized if they don't agree with what everyone might be doing. Furthermore, they may feel lost and distressed as they lose their own personal values while trying to "fit in". I hope my piece conveys the message that peer pressure is not something that is trivial, but it is something that is very significant (especially in my age group) that needs to be addressed. 

My message focuses on the victims of peer pressure, but this could also be for those who have pressured others, so they may see the detrimental effects of their actions. I believe, through my passion for art, that I can address this crucial issue.