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Amos Lemon Burkhart Art Scholarship Fund

This fund provides scholarships to graduating seniors from Governor Mifflin Area High School who display extraordinary artistic promise.

This scholarship is in memory of Amos Lemon Burkhart, the beloved only child of Dane Burkhart and Ann Lemon.

Born on Guy Fawkes Day in 1998, Amos was graceful, athletic, witty, sarcastic, coordinated, beautiful, subtly hilarious, forgetful, stubborn, a perfect mimic, had great dance moves and a fabulous sense of style, and an undeniable artistic genius.

Lemon grew up partly at White Lightning Farm in Mohnton, Pa., in an old farmhouse, and partly on West 12th Street in New York City, where his loving babysitter and second mom, MaryAnn Borzellino, took care of him while his mother worked.

As a student at Brecknock Elementary school, he struggled to sit still in class and was a fountain of noise. Amazing teachers including Mark Engel helped him fit in, and he joined the Mifflin Baseball League, learned to ice skate, joined Cub Scout Pack 264, and was in the gifted program, where he met his very best friend, Jeremy. In New York, his cute face was spotted by a talent scout, and he appeared in a Tylenol commercial at age 5, where he was on screen for a quarter second sticking out his tongue.

In the Mifflin Intermediate school, he started playing the trombone under the tutelage of Steven Holgate, and in Middle School he played in the jazz band with Heather Griffin, sang in the show choir with Travis Williamson, played on the Governor Mifflin Lacrosse team, studied tennis at Hillcrest Racquet Club with Paul McDonough, and discovered BSA Troop 241 of Knauers. As a member of the 241 Plasma Patrol, he hiked the Appalachian Trail, rafted the mighty Youghiogheny, and explored the Florida Keys at Sea Base, among many other outings. The troop leaders, including Scoutmasters Dennis Schwartz, Gary Smith, and Russ Relkin, leaders Rich Domzsick, George Velez, and Meg Relkin, and committee chairs Jim Phillippi and Brooke Frech, along with hundreds of other scouts and leaders, taught and showed him how to be a man of integrity. He helped with service projects like Scouting for Food, and earned enough merit badges over the next seven years to become an Eagle Scout on the cusp of his 18th birthday.

He taught himself how to play the ukulele, juggle, ride a trick bike, walk a slack line, ski, ride a skateboard, use various animation and graphic design software, compose music, write poetry, and ride a unicycle. He was a great kayaker and canoeist and could paddleboard and surf and do anything imaginable on a skim board. He loved fishing with his dad and wanted to go hunting until he learned you actually had to kill an animal, although he was a crack shot. He was occasionally captured by a good book and loved the topic of history. He was the Co-Captain and number one singles player on the Mifflin Varsity Tennis team in 2016-2017.

He was confirmed by Rev. Meghan Huesgen at Immanuel UCC church where he enjoyed helping younger kids, painting faces at Walk to the Bridge, babysitting at Parents’ Night Out and raising a ruckus in Sunday School.

Figure drawing by Amos Lemon Burkhart

As he reached high school, his concentration focused like a laser beam on art and friends. He relentlessly created and pushed himself artistically, starting with pen drawings of rocket ships and robots, moving through 2D and 3D materials, colored pencils and markers, linoleum cuts, monoprints, screenprinting, letterpress printing, acrylic and oil paint, and anything else he could get his hands on.

He drew on the backs of his homework, on his textbooks, on his hands, on the walls of his room and on the walls of Mifflin Senior High School. He participated as a junior high and high school student for five years at Kutztown University’s 24-hour Designathon, where he worked with teams of college students to create murals, logos and artwork for nonprofit organizations. He painted a beautiful mural on a wall of the Family Promise playground as a church service project, and longed to do major large-scale street paintings. Chris Allen helped guide him in AP Studio Art and in his college applications. He won the Jack Coggins prize (best of show) in the Berks County High School Art Exhibit as a junior. In a summer figure-drawing class at the University of the Arts, his teachers watched him, they said, “in awe” at the ease and confidence with which he could capture the human form.

He researched and applied to the prestigious California State Summer School for the Arts and was one of only 20 students from outside California, from over 500 applicants, to be accepted in the summer of 2016. At CSSSA, he fell in love with animation and studied with major animators, including Sean Buckelew and Lori Damiano, who said, “He had such a unique artistic voice, a wonderful dynamic curiosity and adventurousness in his artistic practice… he was so incredibly talented.”

Lemon was a 2017 graduate of Governor Mifflin Senior High and was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to attend CalArts in experimental animation. In his senior year in high school, Amos struggled with mental illness and substance abuse. He was enormously helped by his school counselors, by the Caron Foundation in Wernersville, Pa., and the amazing counselors and staff at Caron Renaissance in Florida.

He made significant progress there, but felt ready to leave and begin his young adult life. When he learned he was awarded a Presidential Scholarship at Montserrat College of Art for fall of 2018, he decided to move to Beverly, Mass., to live and work for the summer. Unfortunately, and for reasons known only by him and the Universe, he chose to mix Xanax, alcohol, marijuana, and amphetamines, and passed away on the beach in Beverly on the morning of Monday, May 7, 2018.

He was predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Marcia Gaar Lemon and James Nicholson Lemon, of Richmond, Ind.; his paternal grandfather, Kenneth Burkhart of Mohnton, and his uncle, Timothy Laughlin. His paternal grandmother, Dr. Doris Burkhart, is a resident of The Highlands at Wyomissing. He is also survived by his parents, his aunts Sara Laughlin, Alice Kingsland, and Jill Campbell, his uncles Jim Lemon, Richard Kingsland and Carl Campbell, and his beloved cousins John, Caleb and Eli Campbell, Nicole Kingsland, and Hannah and Isaac Laughlin.