By Kyle Bradley

Special Contributor

GROTON -- Elizabeth Garside has received a key that could open countless doors of opportunity in the near future.

The National Scholastic Gold Key for Digital Art is a highly coveted and sought-after award with the objective "to foster the confidence of young artists and give them the opportunity to be recognized for their creative achievements by the world at large."

Elizabeth has been awarded the Golden Key for her photo "Tribal Simulations," in which she is adorned in four variations of Eastern African-inspired garb that she constructed herself using craft supplies and face paint.

The works are submitted by individual schools and must stand out among the work of the student body.

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School teacher Jon O'Connor has had Garside in multiple art and photography classes. He said, "Liz's work stood out as the clear choice for selection" to be entered into this largest competition with the most history and highest number of submissions in the art community.

For her part, Elizabeth, of Groton, is humbled by the award and says it's a "big deal" to her.

Out of the 15 teenagers in Massachusetts who won nationally, only five won the gold.

The metaphorical skeleton key that Elizabeth won through her dedication to art adds weight to her name and much-needed leverage in her quest to succeed in her chosen field.