Dannenhoffer’s National Awards Prove NHS’ Arts Program One of the Best

Emma DeFrancesco


Madison Dannenhoffer

Madison Dannenhoffer’s drawing, “Parked,” won state and national recognition earlier this year.

Emma DeFrancesco, Reporter

WOODBURY – When people think of Nonnewaug and its accomplishments, they may think of the school’s nationally recognized FFA chapter. They might also think of the reputation as one of the top athletic programs in the Berkshire League. One achievement students often forget is the success of Nonnewaug’s art program.

Most students do not know what the art program entails at Nonnewaug, or even the massive awards that have been given to students through the years.

Madison Dannenhoffer, a senior, has received numerous of the most prestigious art awards in America this school year.

“My piece, ‘Parked,’ received a gold key at the Connecticut level, best in Connecticut drawing, and a national gold medal in the Scholastics Art and Writing Awards,” Dannenhoffer explained. 

“That means she’s one of the best in the nation,” added Leeza Desjardins, a Nonnewaug art teacher and mentor to many students in the program.

Dannenhoffer’s hard work reminds us that art is more than just paint on a canvas.

“[‘Parked’] symbolizes my struggle with going through not being able to move and feeling immobile while both of my legs are broken,” Dannenhoffer said.

Desjardins feels that Dannenhoffer’s work is very inspiring to others.

“Her perseverance and her goal to actually walk and be able to function in this building and be able to produce that on paper and her visual communication of what she went through is unbelievable and so heartwarming,” she said. 

Both agree that Nonnewaug’s art program as a whole needs to be recognized more often for their hard work.

“We get a lot of recognition, but I feel like we could get a little more,” said Dannenhoffer. “We’re still amazing as a [National Art Honor Society], and I think more people need to see what we do.”

“I feel that we should get more and more recognition every year and we don’t,” Desjardins remarked. “We’ve been winning national medals and it needs to be broadcasted.”

Art is a source of inspiration and expression for many students at NHS. 

“[Art] helped me grow a family here with everybody in the art department as well as get out emotions and the struggles I’ve gone through in the past year,” Dannenhoffer remarked.

Desjardins helps inspire art students to incorporate personal emotions or beliefs into their pieces.

“Maybe it could be something you experienced or something you really love and admire, or maybe you have a strong voice about something or against something and you want to portray that visually,” Desjardins suggested.

Art is an essential part of Nonnewaug, and is just as important as sports, the agriculture program, and our many other clubs. Next time you walk through the hallways, take a look and appreciate the pieces of hard work put in by art students to make our school proud.