Scholastic Art Awards

Mia Potamianos and Jenna Vespi

Editors of Promotion

On Jan. 12, 2017, the Scholastic Art awards were presented to students from 88 schools in Central New York and many were brought home to our very own Jamesville-DeWitt High School by students. From photography to ceramics to drawing and painting, digital media, and film, J-DHS was victorious in all aspects of the competition, as over 70 awards were presented to J-DHS students. Our high school brought home 19 Gold Keys, 26 Silver Keys, and 29 Honorable Mentions.

One of the winners was senior Melissa Gao, who entered a senior photography portfolio as well as four individual pictures. “It was just really tedious, because my pictures were in black and white, so they would come out too green or too pink, so it was a really long process,” said Gao about preparing her submissions. Junior Claudia Hauser submitted two photographs to Scholastic, one of which won her a gold key. With a little pushing from photography teacher Lisa Troubetaris, Hauser was motivated to submit her work, which in the end paid off. For Scholastic, teachers are asked to select pieces to submit that they believe could be winners. “I usually keep an eye out during the year for things that I think are good and I’ll maybe ask them to reprint for Scholastic,” said Mrs. Troubetaris. “When you’re looking for work, you’re looking for things that are technically good and something that stands out, not just a drawing or a photograph of a dog, but something special,” she said.

For ceramics, the Scholastic process is a little different than in other fields. Ceramics teacher Mark McIntyre said that his students don’t do work specifically for Scholastic. “As things get finished, depending on the quality of them, we can decide what we submit for it. So it’s sort of an afterthought,” said Mr. McIntyre. Compared to photography and drawing and paintings, ceramics does not have as many entries.

Junior Niki Jiang was a big winner in both ceramics and drawing and painting, with two gold keys and one silver key. One gold key was awarded for her sculpture of ramen noodles with mice on the box. Jiang said she was inspired by the idea of a nightmare consisting of mice crawling through left over food. “It was very fun to create,” she said. Her other two winners were drawings of a tea cup and her pet cat.

A few student winners, including Jiang and sophomore Mark Davis, received invitations to the award ceremony too late, which prohibited them from being able to attend. “It was kinda frustrating, because I couldn't be there to get my awards,” said Jiang. Of those who attended, all agreed that the ceremony was very long, because of the numerous winners.

Art teacher Carl Wenzel has been involved with Scholastic for many years and after not being able to attend this year, he’s realized he isn’t the biggest fan, and even has some concerns. Years ago there was a limit on how many pieces a teacher could submit, but after some modifying of the process, anything can be submitted. In addition, for our local Scholastic Art competition, the judging process has been altered and students are unable to know why their pieces are winning or, on the other hand, not being recognized. Mr. Wenzel expressed that in some cases this has been hard on students who submit work, because the judging is very “subjective.”

Despite Mr. Wenzel's concerns, he is proud of all students who participated in what is likely to be his last year as an art teacher here. The extreme talent in the art program at J-DHS was certainly recognized in this years Scholastic Art Awards.