Meet Ashley Nephew. One of Northview High School’s most remarkable students. She’s come a long way– from China to Georgia, from Conyers to Johns Creek, from sketching stick-figures to painting pieces comparable to the works of professional artists.
It was sophomore year. Tenth grade Honors Literature and Composition. 30 teenagers are buzzing with anticipation, eagerly balancing on the edge of their plastic chairs. Eyes trail across the poorly lit classroom, passing over the twinkle lights and walls decorated by various quotes from authors that most did not bother to read. Ms. Conroy, the English teacher, urges everyone to calm down. Nephew stands to the side emerging from this chaos, presenting a masterpiece: cookies.
It was a project. Most fulfilled this assignment in the typical manner of presenting a hastily thrown together Powerpoint. Others did so with a short speech, scribbled across tattered notecards, feigning understanding for a decent grade.
But as usual, Nephew poured herself into this project, leveraging her interests for success. The same can be said with regard to her other pursuits. To Nephew, hard work is merely a given.
“I like to bake,” Nephew said, “I made cookies for the whole class. People tell me they still have the recipe.”
In some ways, she is an anomaly, both for events such as this and for choosing to walk home every day. Though a seemingly simple task, most other students find such a routine to be intolerable. As though it were climbing a mountain rather than merely walking down the street. But Nephew? She sees this part of her day as one of the best parts.
Prior to her time at Northview High School, Nephew was adopted as an infant from China, alongside her twin sister, Holly Nephew.
“We’re closer than other siblings,” Nephew said, “We’re good friends.”
Nephew is currently a senior and has lived for four years in Johns Creek, however, she spent her formative years in various towns across Georgia. From Sandy Springs to Conyers to Monroe to Johns Creek, the experiences she gained from these towns molded her into the person she is today: an artist, a cook, a student, a sister, and a human of Northview.
Though the locations of her upbringing were disjointed as she found herself moving to new towns over the course of Elementary school and Middle school, her interests were as unmoving as bedrock. Beginning with mandatory art classes in elementary school, she continued this pursuit of the arts with high school electives and the like.
Every other Saturday, Nephew finds herself among a group of like-minded artists at a local bookstore. The group, “Young Artists”, is essentially an organization that teaches kids the fundamental techniques of drawing, painting, elements of art, and principles of design. This group for her is ideal, as it combines her love of art and helping children.
Conflicted by various potential career paths, this uncertainty is a testament to her capability to likely excel in whatever field she chooses to pursue.
Teaching art is one possibility. Other interests include teaching history or going into advertising and graphic design.
If in the years to come Nephew goes on to achieve even just half as much as she accomplished during her high school career, she will leave an indelible mark for good on society.