High school senior in New Jersey needs help after prized art portfolio goes missing

Nina Pineda Image
Thursday, June 15, 2023
High school senior needs help after prized art portfolio goes missing
A New Jersey student's art portfolio ended up across the country until Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side worked to get the prized artwork home.

PEQUANNOCK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A high schooler's prized art portfolio went missing after he sent it off for evaluation to get college credit.

His artwork was sent to a different address clear across the country until Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side worked to get the portfolio home.

It was clear from a young age that Zach Laubach was going to be a good artist. His mom saved everything -- but her oldest son's most important work went missing.

A year ago, the National Honor Society student sent five drawings to the College Board: the nonprofit that administers the SAT and oversees AP programs in high schools nationwide.

The College Board insists on evaluating original artwork for AP college credit, so the high school senior spent months creating an art portfolio.

"I worked really hard on them, took me about six months and now I don't even have them, they mean a lot to me," Laubach said.

The College Board gave Zach's art high marks - 4 out of 5.

But instead of returning the art, the nonprofit mysteriously misplaced his prized portfolio. That meant all he had to show colleges were tiny snapshots of his work.

The drawings were all mailed from the Pequannock Township High School and in late January, a guidance counselor called the College Board and was told all five pieces of original artwork were mistakenly sent to a different student who lives in Utah - more than 2,100 miles away.

The family says they called and emailed the College Board repeatedly for months, but had no luck getting the portfolio.

"It should be a very simple thing, and they know where it is, in this day in age you should be able to retrieve it, but it's been months," said his father Todd Laubach.

7 On Your Side went to work on Zach's case with the College Board and the same day, the Pequannock Panthers baseball team won the North Jersey sectional finals.

Two weeks later, the student athlete and artist finally got a special delivery -- all of his art, priceless to them, was safely returned.

"I'm so happy I really don't know it's been like a year," Zach said.

A representative from the board said it was "genuinely sorry for the long delay in returning Zachariah's artwork."

The College Board added that given the complexities of shipping, receiving and packaging $65,000 pieces of artwork, the portfolios can be submitted digitally going forward.

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