NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — The emotion is raw and relatable where photos portraying healthcare workers and their struggles amid a pandemic are hung in Waterbury Hospital.

The mind behind these masterpieces is Naugatuck High School senior Tiffany Nguyen.

“I was just really honored, but mostly bashful because I wasn’t expecting all the recognition that I did,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen is one of several art students in the school making a big impact on the community with their work

“They were grateful that I was able to portray some of the hardships they had to endure, so I’m just happy my artwork was able to be seen by so many people,” Nguyen said.

Senior Alexia Resto also recognized a problem to inspire her project.

“I talked to some people who have mental illnesses, and I get their opinion on how they see the world,” Resto said. “I paint and draw that.”

She admits it’s also a personal battle, only aggravated by the pandemic, that’s fueling her inspiring pieces.

“It’s almost like a new me,” Resto said. “I feel like I can reimagine myself as a person. It [the pandemic] made my depression really bad. I learned to express that through art. My art is so important to me.”

The common thread among students is the assignment is just the start. It goes to the next level when they incorporate their own feelings and experiences.

Senior Parker Fitzgerald has a passion for art and goals for making it big.

“I’m mostly working on 3D modeling, which is used a lot in big movies like Marvel,” Fitzgerald said.

You can see Fitzgerald’s logos and graphic designs on sweatshirts, but it’s in the advanced art programing at Naugatuck that gives him the tools to go much further.

“In the workforce, I’d probably work toward becoming a CGI designer for Warner Brothers or something like that,” Fitzgerald said.

Classroom opportunities like this encourage creativity and big thinking, putting these students on the map early in life.

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