Ames Middle School and Ames High School students and their teaching mentors earned an array of awards from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Preparing artwork for the competition helped them use their imagination, influence and artistic voices to inspire others and raise awareness about issues that are important to them.
Sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, these awards have recognized art and literary talent since 1923. The contest is open to any student 7th through 12th grade. It provides a way for students to develop and polish pieces beyond classroom requirements and share their work with a larger audience. Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers says, “By tapping into the imaginations of teenage artists and writers and encouraging them to share their visions, we are fostering the next generation of great influencers in the arts and beyond.”
Seventh grade student Yuer Zhu said it was the chance to influence others and tap into their imagination that inspired her to compete.
“I wanted my art piece to show a message clearly and to inspire others. So I decided to tell others that your imagination can be infinite,” she said.
To art teacher Cappie Dobyns, the Scholastic Art and Writing competition is the “barometer for what is original and masterful within a constantly changing field.”
“Participating guides our learners towards greater goals, which in turn can fuel intrinsic motivation and develop positive self concepts,” Dobyns said.
Seventh grade student Taylor Balsley said before attending the Scholastic Award Ceremony in Iowa City last month, she was happy about her work and a little nervous about going to such a big event.
“The artwork I saw at Scholastic helped me feel proud about my work,” she said. “Afterwards, I felt like I accomplished something and I feel I can do even better in other projects in the future.”
Dobyns said the students should be proud about their work.
“The judging criteria for Scholastic requires a high degree of technical skill to support an artist’s ability to achieve expressive qualities—a student’s voice—in a work that is unique or commanding,” she said. “For middle schoolers who are trying to master skills, the voice can be overlooked. Students excelling in the Scholastic program have been given the time and opportunity to fully explore this level of complex, creative thinking.”
Erin Yoon, in seventh grade, used her artistic voice to raise awareness about the global refugee crisis.
“Being able to raise awareness visually is more powerful and, what I feel is the best way to raise awareness,” she said.
The following students earned Art Awards:
Charlotte Bowler, Grade 8, Gold Key
Yuer Zhu, Grade 7, Gold Key
Taylor Balsley, Grade 7, Gold Key
Erin Yoon, Grade 7, Silver Key
Kate Murray, 12th grade, Silver Key In Film and Animation
Film and Animation
Allyson Goodman, 11th grade, Gold Key
Brandon Johnson, 12th grade, Honorable Mention
Kyliegh Cowles 11th grade, Silver Key
In Mixed Media
Grace Rylean, 12th grade, two Gold Keys
Chloe Barry, 10th grade, Silver Key
Alyssa Strotman, 12th grade, Gold Key, American Visions Award
Regan Kiltzer, 12th grade, Silver Key
Wren Kress, 12th grade, Silver Key
Alyssa Strotman, 12th grade, Silver Key and Honorable Mention
William Crow, 11th grade, Silver Key and Honorable Mention
Wren Kress, 12th grade, two Honorable Mentions
Braeden Weyhrich, 12th grade, two Honorable Mentions
Polyphony Bruna,10th grade, Gold Key
Gretchen Webber, 9th grade, Honorable Mention
Marlene Domeich Hayes, 11th grade, Silver Key
In Drawing and Illustration
Audrey Diesslin, 11th grade, Gold Key
Ethan Constant, 10th grade, Silver Key
Polyphony Bruna, 10th grade, Silver Key
Marlene Dureich, 12th grade, Silver Key
Kate Murray 12th grade, Silver Key
Jamie Zhang,10th grade, Silver Key
Daitu Gaffrey, 12th grade, Honorable Mention
Mattie Kupfer, 12th grade, Honorable Mention
Kate Murray, 12th grade, Honorable Mention
Leah Wolter, 9th grade, Honorable Mention
Zoe Lazere, 12th grade, Honorable Mention
Stephen Penberthy, 12th grade, Gold Key
Jamie Zhang, 10th grade, Gold Key and Silver Key
Allyson Goodman, 10th grade, Silver Key
In Comic Art
Kate Murray, 12th grade, Gold Key
Branwen Gerald, 12th grade, Gold Key
Alyssa Lehmann, 12th grade, Gold Key
Branwen Gerald, 12th grade, Silver Key
Katherine Hem, 12th grade, Honorable Mention
About Gold Key
Work demonstrating the highest levels of originality, technique, and personal vision. Gold Key artwork is forwarded to New York City for national adjudication. Students are recognized with Gold Key lapel pins and certificates.
About Silver Key
Work demonstrating achievement worthy of recognition on the regional level. Students are recognized with Silver Key lapel pins and certificates.
About Honorable Mention
Work demonstrating artistic potential. Honorable Mention certificates are presented in some regions.