RHS students win Scholastic’s Art and Writing Awards


Mrs. Jessica Huvaere

Senior Zach Wendt with his digital art piece

Makenzie Shubnell, Entertainment Editor

It’s almost submission day, and the AP art students here at Rochester High are preparing their pieces for entry as they frantically take photos to send to Scholastic. The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are just around the corner, and most artists are waiting anxiously to hear whether or not their art has made it to finals.

The competition is a pivotal moment for any high school artist, and is crucial for the winners, as Rochester High’s art and photography teacher, Mrs. Jessica Huvaere, explains.

“It’s a great accomplishment for a student to win a Scholastics Art award,”  Mrs. Huvaere said. “Their work is selected from over six-thousand entries. I always give my student the analogy of it being very similar to like if you go to states for a sport.”

It is an incredible accomplishment to be chosen at the national level according to junior  Rachel Maldonado.

“It means that they should feel proud because they’re competing against a ton of other students’ works,” Maldonado said. “Throughout them all, theirs [was] chosen to be recognized.”

Senior Alaine Apostol’s journey with art has led her to this competition, and her hard work and dedication paid off when she received her awards.

“[The awards are] Silver Key, honorable mention, and Gold Key,” Apostol said. “I entered two pieces. One won a Gold Key and the other won an honorable mention. To win a Gold Key is a national recognition to the piece of work, and to the artist. Instinctively I first felt very shocked. I’ve won awards before, but never of such a high recognition. I felt proud, and relieved of all the hard work and stress I’ve put into each piece.”

The categories fit almost any style of artist, and there is a large range of categories for students to enter in, including video, animation, digital art, drawing, painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, glass blowing, fashion, comic art, and 3D printing.

“They do have to pay too, there is a fee that is attached, they have to pay five dollars per entry, twenty dollars  per portfolio,” Mrs. Huvaere said. “So I know that does hinder a lot of our really talented artists at this school, and it definitely limits some of the students from applying or submitting work because it’s expensive. If you submit ten pieces, it’s a lot of money that you’re spending to enter the competition. How they would submit their work is that they photograph their work if it’s not already a digital image, and then they upload it onto the website, and then they submit it that way. Once it gets selected to be in the show, then they  prepare their work. basically they mat it, and then they drop it off at the College for Creative Studies where it will be displayed.”

Senior Zach Wendt explains that the awards are not to be taken lightly, as many of the students spend so much of their time and pay so much attention to their pieces.

“I worked hard all year on my concentration, so I think the hard work paid off,” Wendt said. “I’ve always been interested [in art], but I began to take it seriously sophomore year.”

The national attention brought upon the artists and their work comes with endless opportunities including scholarships and prizes, as Mrs. Huvaere said.

“[Winning involves] more exposure than anything, but there are absolutely scholarships that are attached,” Mrs. Huvaere said. “CCS, the College for Creative Studies, works very closely with the Scholastics Art and Writing program, and they host it, so they definitely gives away a lot of scholarship money. There are some other schools too, and some private individuals that give away small, monetary scholarships to students who are pursuing a degree in the arts. There are also some gift cards, DickBlick, (an art store located in Dearborn), gives away a number of gift cards, and then Birmingham Bloomfield art center gives away scholarships for classes, Oakland University gives away scholarships for classes, and Paint Creek center for the Arts.”

For those who receive scholarships, the recognition is the catalyst for opportunities for camps, schools, and other programs, Maldonado explains.

“So far, I have received one gold key, two silver keys, an honorable mention, and a scholarship for a summer art program, which I went to and [it] was amazing,” Maldonado said. “I have been accepted into College for Creative Studies and plan on going there for graphic design.”

Maldonado also explains the exposure process for winners, and how others can view the top pieces.

“They expose the artwork through galleries which thousands of people can walk by and see,” Maldonado said. “The awards you receive look incredible on college applications, and when applying to a job that involves art.”

The awards are given to the most qualified artist at the high school level, and are a rewarding experience for those who are recognized.

“This is the largest most publicly recognized art competition there is for high school art students,” Mrs. Huvaere said. “So to be the equivalency of that, if their work is accepted into this competition, this is basically saying they’re one of the top artists in our area.”