Brooklyn Tech alum, Dyker resident wins silver in Ocean Awareness Student Contest

A Brooklyn student is being recognized for her exceptional work in the arts as well as for her ocean advocacy.

Dyker Heights resident Luyi Song, who recently graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, received a Silver award and $1,000 for her art submission to the 2016 Ocean Awareness Student Contest, sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs.

Close to the end of her senior year, Song wanted to do something productive and found the competition while surfing the web.

“The Ocean Awareness Student Contest is an international contest opens to students under 18 that calls for awareness of oceanic problems such as plastic pollution, oil spills, nuclear waste, acidification and many more,” said Song, who competed against over 1,200 high school entries from around the world.

“We aim to empower students to think creatively about solutions to ocean pollution,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “We believe that students who learn by ‘creating’ experience deeper learning and longer-lasting behavior change. Luyi’s winning art submission also demonstrates how the creative arts is a powerful tool to tap into human emotions in a way that inspires the public to take action.”

Although she thrived, Song’s high school years, like for many students, weren’t always easy. “My experience at Brooklyn Tech was very stressful and confusing,” Song said. “I entered high school timidly because English was not my native tongue. In addition, as a kid interested in art, I felt that my interest was washed away with the rigorous academic curriculum in the school. There was a long period of time that I simply hated the school and all the subjects it required its student to take and perform well. I despised the educational system, not because I was someone who didn’t like knowledge, but because knowledge was thrown at students without passion and care.”

Thanks to time, personal growth and help from teachers, Song’s outlook changed. “In my later years in high school, I chose architectural courses,” she explained. “In these classes, I got the chance to be involved in creative projects such as making models of houses. And my teachers encouraged us to enter art contests. I entered a number of local contests, such as the ones sponsored by the Department of Education, the AAA and the Central Brooklyn MLK Commission, and received several awards.”

Song is now attending Pratt Institute and realizes the significance of her high school years. “Something I realized about education is that it is holy and beautiful,” she said. “I never enjoyed my classes at Brooklyn Tech and used to think that it was useless to learn math, physics, chemistry and stuff that I considered unrelated to my future. But I was being very foolish. Everything taught in the classes is a crystallization of human wisdom and the civilization that humans have created. I hated the subjects because I never understood them enough.”

Though she is early in her undergraduate career, Song has a clear goal for her future. “I am going to major in 2D animation,” she said. “It was a distant dream back when I was 12 and after years of searching and figuring out, I’ve decided it is something that I will dive into for the rest of my life.”

Song’s love for art will clearly play an integral role in any career she chooses. “Art has been around since people lived in caves, but there is no exact determination of how long it has been, and to me, it has been around as long as mankind,” she said. “Nowadays, with the emergence of technology, art forms are evolving to accommodate human progress. But the core intent remains the same: to record human passion and emotion, to reflect upon the society and the people of this period in time, and to evoke hope and happiness.”

For those that are unsure of their future, Song offers some advice. “I will say do not shun any kind of knowledge and always pursue your inner passion because eventually a platform will be offered to you even if it’s invisible at the time,” she said.

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