April 2015 Student Spotlight - Jacob Harper, Lincoln East High School

Research shows that arts education positively affects student growth beyond the art classroom both educationally and socially. Nebraskans for the Arts’ April Student Spotlight winner, Jacob Harper, demonstrates how the arts helped him navigate through adversity to excel in school and in helping others. 

Harper, a senior at Lincoln East High School, has a passion for visual arts. So much that a portfolio of work helped him win a $5,000 scholarship to Hastings College.

But his participation in school arts activities have meant more to Harper than money.  He said that the arts helped him overcome his school anxiety, depression, father’s death and bullying.

“The art room has been a safe haven for me over the years and I have developed friendships and a purpose in life through the arts,” he said.

Harper, who has also grown an appreciation for helping others, was nominated for the Salvation Army’s D.J.’s Hero Award for his selfless acts for others and commitment to the community. He has also been a student ambassador to China for People-to-People.

“Jacob had many obstacles to overcome that could have overwhelmed him,” said his nominator, Lincoln East High School teacher Lynne Hershey.  “But we have seen Jacob grow into an individual who has extraordinary dedication to his art studies and engaged with learning and helping others around him.”