For ninety years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have been recognizing and rewarding creativity in students across the United States. With Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, and Andy Warhol among a litany of Scholastic “alumni”, these young women are in good company!
“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards continues to be the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers.” (see link for quote credit)
Despite the clear display of talent from all four artists, each of them opened up to the fact that they didn’t expect to win! Even after submitting amazing works of art (as displayed in January’s Falcon Flier), these seniors exhibited humility and surprise. Their teacher, Erin Overmeyer, explained her difficult role in selecting pieces for consideration:
“I choose the work that I think is the strongest work thus far. I have to pay $5 per entry, so I have to act as juror here and only enter the work that I think is the strongest.”
Besides her Silver Key and Honorable Mention, Rebekah Van Slooten was awarded two Gold Keys, which means her work will travel on to be judged nationally! For the time being, however, you can view her work and that of our other Silver Key winner Rachel LaBrecque at Kendall College of Art and Design.
In pondering the significance of this recognition, Rachel, who plans to study graphic design at Ferris State University, shared that “[It] means a lot… School and family will be proud no matter what, but it’s really nice to hear that you do good work from people outside that close group.”
Both Lauren and Kendra experimented with mediums unlike those used by their classmates: Lauren with photography and Kendra with typography. Lauren remarked that although it came as a surprise, it was the first competition she’d ever won, and that gave her great satisfaction.
Each of the artists praised the personal attention they receive in Allendale and the freedom they enjoy to create. The joy they experience while holding a paintbrush, charcoal pencil, or camera is a reminder that, while not quantifiable on a multiple choice test, these talents do have the power to change lives.
“The APS art program has been a big part of my life as long as I can remember. To me, art classes are fun, refreshing, and a great place to challenge myself and learn new skills. This love of art made me want to dual-enroll at Kendall. In those classes, Ms. O helped me learn the techniques I used in my winning artwork,” Rachel said.
For her part, Ms. Overmeyer is proud of the success of her students and noted that these young women are attentive to more than just the canvas in front of them. They are leaders in every sense of the word.
“What really stands out with this year’s group of award winners is their dedication to their school and community. All four of these young women are talented artists, athletes, accomplished students, class leaders, and active volunteers in their community,” said Ms. Overmeyer.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!