Arm­strong stu­dents take home na­tional art awards

Starkville Daily News - - EDUCATION - By CHAR­LIE BEN­TON [email protected]­

A tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lence con­tin­ues in the art room at Arm­strong Mid­dle School, with five eighth-grade stu­dents win­ning Scholas­tic Gold and Sil­ver Key Awards.

Glenda John­son and Cam­ryn Nichols both won Gold Key Awards for draw­ing and il­lus­tra­tion. Sil­ver Awards went to Keyunna Chan­dler, Tan­ner Reeves and As­ton Sta­ton, all for draw­ing and il­lus­tra­tion. All the win­ners are stu­dents in Mikel Franklin’s ad­vanced art class. All Gold Key win­ners move on to a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

The win­ning pieces are part of an ex­hibit, which opened Tues­day, and will close March 25. The awards are pre­sented by the Al­liance for Young Artists and writ­ers, a non­profit ded­i­cated to iden­ti­fy­ing stu­dents with ex­cep­tional artis­tic and lit­er­ary tal­ent.

“It’s great,” Franklin said. “You’re com­pet­ing against some of the best schools in the state. Art-wise though, my class is small. My stu­dents do their best. I push them ev­ery day that they come into my class. We work from the be­gin­ning to the end, and I think they’ll see this when they go and do the ex­hi­bi­tion and see some of the work that they’ve been up against.”

He said he hoped his stu­dents would see their work in com­par­i­son to some of the schools they were up against.

“I think they’ll re­al­ize that they don’t have as much as some of the big­ger schools, but the ef­fort and the work is still there,” Franklin said.

John­son said she was sur­prised to hear she had won the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I thought I hadn’t won any­thing,” John­son said. “I thought I’d win a sil­ver or a bronze medal.

Nichols fur­ther ex­plained the cre­ation of her win­ning piece, which she com­pleted in a week dur­ing the fall se­mes­ter.

“We had to get pushed to our lim­its, and we had to use a lot of me­dia,” John­son said. “We weren’t re­ally used to it.”

John­son said she en­joyed mak­ing art as a means of self-ex­pres­sion. She added she was in­ter­ested in an­ime, and was con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in il­lus­tra­tion some­day.

“I get to do new things, like draw­ing things us­ing ink and stuff, be­cause the main thing I use is pen­cil and eraser,” John­son said. “Now that I am here, I get to use white pen­cils, char­coal and ebony pen­cils, just us­ing new things. It’s still kind of hard though.”

Nichols said she hoped to at­tend vet­eri­nary school some­day, but still hoped to do art on the side.

Nichols also spoke to the tight­ness of the class, say­ing the group had taken art classes to­gether since the sixth grade.

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