Jeanne Perry, a fifth grader from Dodgertown Elementary in Vero Beach, was awarded the Indian River County Kids Tag Art medal Wednesday (May 27) in ceremonies outside her home. County Tax Collector Carol Jean Jordan presented the award during the “Kids Tag Art- Indian River Inc Drive-by Awards Ceremony”.
The medal was accompanied by the Tax Collector’s Choice Award (top honor). Jeanne’s prizewinning picture will be imprinted on all County tax vehicle license plates and available for purchase by all county plate buyers.
The drawing presents a jaunty, beaming narwhal, a popular internet meme based on the arctic whale sometimes called the “unicorn of the sea.” The narwhal is listening to music on its cell phone. It drew praise from her art teacher, Dana Gatlin.
“The vibrant colors Jeanne used really bring out the joy and wholesomeness in her art,” she said. “It can’t help but make you smile! Jeanne is a very creative student and I couldn’t be more proud of how far she’s come this year.”
Jeanne’s drawing competed with 952 entries by fifth graders from 20 county schools, according to Stephanie Pooley, public affairs administrator of the IRC Tax Collector’s Office.
The ten-year-old loves to draw sea creatures, but it was not only her experience in that area that helped inspire her. “It was the music the art teacher played while we drew that helped me focus on my drawing,” Jeanne said. “I had no idea I could win. I just did my best.”
“Trying hard and doing her best are traits that really describe Jeanne,” according to her mother, Iva Powell Perry. “She never gives up.”
Jeanne’s creativity does not stop with her ability as a budding artist. She is also a skilled pianist with the Gifford Youth Orchestra and has soloed at numerous performances since she began study with well-known Vero Beach teacher Sue Lorimier.
“She’s been studying with me for 3½ years,” Ms. Lorimier said. “Jeanne is a hard worker and it shows in her musical techniques and musical expressions. As a person she is just awesome. And she helps younger students during group classes and while she’s waiting to perform at the GYO functions.”
With all the emphasis in her life on the arts, it would be reasonable to think they were what she most looked forward to in school. But Jeanne’s favorite subject turns out to be math.
“Math is cool,” she says. “I have fun with numbers. Figuring out problems is easy for me. I like to think about numbers.”