Three St. Michael-Albertville High School students, Teresa O’Sullivan, Katie Reeves and Josh Tutland, were recognized at Carnegie Hall in New York City earlier this summer as recipients of the prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
STMA High School Principal Bob Driver said that over 25,000 students in grades 7-12 from all over the nation submitted over 330,000 works of art and writing in 29 different categories. Only 700 students were chosen as Scholastic Award recipients.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards bills itself as the longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts.
“The young people being recognized today for the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are to be celebrated for their creative and critical thinking, their bravery in telling their own stories on their own terms, and their inventiveness in recording and recreating their worlds,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
The award ceremony at Carnegie Hall included speeches from actress and comedian Amy Schumer, a video message from former first lady Michelle Obama, the CEO and President of Scholastic, artist Paul Chan and others.
Reeves, grade 12, won a gold medal in the ceramics and glass category for her work “Corset Vessel.” Tutland, also grade 12, won a silver medal in the drawing and illustration category for his work “Grandpa Glen.” O’Sullivan, grade 11, received a silver medal in the painting category for her work “Staged.” The students’ winning artwork was on display in a gallery in New York City and it will travel around the nation, with some of it going to the U.S. Department of Education.
STMA’s winning art: Corset Vessel (left), Staged (top right) and Grandpa Glen.
Also joining the group in New York City for the ceremony was STMA art teacher Kari Halker, her son Harrison Halker-Heinks, who won a gold medal for photography but does not attend STMA, and Allison Huntsley, who received a silver medal for drawing in 2006 but was unable to attend last year’s ceremony.
Halker explained that the students’ art is first sent to the state level, and they receive a gold key if they win at the state level. Then their work goes on to be judged nationally, and if they win at the national level they are in the top less than 1 percent of high school artists.
“So, basically they are the top high school art students in the United States that win the awards,” Halker explained. “It was pretty huge that we had three winners from STMA. We’re consistently winning major awards. We’re this small school who is becoming very successful in art, which is so fun to see.”
“It was amazing,” Driver said. “Our kids being recognized at that national level is awesome. It was absolutely unbelievable, and a great experience for our kids.”
“It’s an amazing, mind-blowing experience,” Halker concurred, “and you really feel valued that what you’re doing is important. It’s breathtaking.”
“All these kids are so talented,” she continued, “and I’m so fortunate to work with them.”