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BIG HONOR IN THE Big Apple

Emma Waibel received two silver medals at the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards in New York
by: submitted photo Emma Waibel, 14, from Athey Creek Middle School, celebrates her two silver metals she earned in New York City by wearing them around town.

Emma Waibel doesn't sit still very often. But on a recent trip to New York City's Carnegie Hall, the 14-year-old was so overwhelmed with emotion she could hardly move.

Looking at her mother didn't help. She was seated three balconies above, crying into a hankerchief. Overcome with emotions, Waibel began to tear up. Never before had she felt as proud as she did that night.

The West Linn High School freshman was one of 1,500 students honored by this year's national Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, which recognizes work done by seventh- to twelfth-graders around the country. At the awards ceremony on June 28, Waibel received two silver medals - the only Oregon middle-schooler to do so - for her creative work with paint and printmaking.

'It was pretty amazing; I teared up a little. Carnegie Hall was magical. It had such a mystique about it,' Waibel said.

One piece she submitted was a print of a photo she'd taken last year at summer camp of a docked boat. Chiseling the image onto a copper plate, she used the final product to make paper prints. The other piece was an encaustic painting of the beach in front of her grandparent's beach house.

'I was born with a paintbrush in my hand,' she said, smiling. 'I will always have art as a piece of me.'

Waibel spent the week before the ceremony gallivanting around New York City with her great uncle and mother. It was her first time visiting New York, and now it's her favorite place.

Naturally, Waibel's parents said they are very proud of their daughter.

'When we found out that Emma received two National Silver Medals we were beaming with pride. She loves the arts and to see her recognized by others for her work was fabulous,' her mother, Shannon McBride, said.

As a kid, Waibel was always trying new things. By the time she was in middle school she was involved with lacrosse, leadership activities, cheerleading and art. Waibel's activities kept her family busy - especially McBride.

'For me it's a privilege. I get to be with my daughter and her friends, and participate in their lives,' McBride said.

But just because the school year is over doesn't mean Waibel gets a break.

Last weekend she led the West Linn Old Time Fair as a princess on the fair court - and participant in its timber show - and at the end of the month she'll compete in the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival in addition to attending cheerleading camps to gear up for the varsity cheer squad at West Linn High School.

Despite all the honors, Waibel said she'll also use this summer to spend time with friends, soak up the rays and watch reality TV shows with her mom.

'We snuggle up on the couch in our PJs, and watch reality TV shows. It's just nice to 'chillax,'' she said.

She deserves to chillax after her hard work as an artist. However, she said it was well worth the effort.

'It's cool to know that you worked so hard and it's something that you love, and you're getting recognized for that. The ceremony was just a big honor,' she said.