QACPS Students Earn National Medals and New York Life Award at 2024 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

CENTREVILLE— Queen Anne’s County High School (QACHS) and Kent Island High School (KIHS) have set new records at both the Regional and National levels in this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition is the longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens, celebrating students with exceptional artistic and literary talents. Many colleges consider Scholastic Art awards when determining admissions and scholarships.

With a total of 139 entries (45 from QACHS and 94 from KIHS), QACHS saw 13 students win 13 Honorable Mentions, 4 Silver Keys, and 8 Gold Keys. At KIHS, 30 students earned 34 Honorable Mentions, 13 Silver Keys, and 16 Gold Keys. All Regional Gold Keys compete against other student works from throughout the northeast to advance to the national competition.

Building on the success of QACHS’ Art Department Chair Stephanie Zeiler’s first National Gold Medalist in 2022, Casey Johnson, a junior at QACHS, has won a Scholastic National Silver Medal and the New York Life Award in the Ceramic and Glass category for her work entitled “Vulnerability.” The New York Life Award offers $2,500 in scholarships / travel stipends to just ten selected students nationwide. Casey is the first student in the history of QACPS to earn both a Silver Medal and the New York Life Award.

Casey described her national award-winning work as a piece about being vulnerable and opening up about the grief surrounding her father’s death. “After sculpting a bowl, I attached thirty-two handmade petals. The number 32 was my dad’s lucky number throughout his life, and my family uses that number as a symbol for his memory, so that is why I used it in this piece,” shared Casey.

She further described her work: “The petals represent peeling back the layers and blossoming growth, the skull in the middle represents the death of my father and my previously suppressed emotions surrounding grief. I created a contrast with the petals’ bright color and the achromatic skull to show how someone seemingly happy on the outside can be hiding pain on the inside.”

At KIHS, Art Department Chair Andrea Schulte’s senior student artist Jackson Powell won a National Gold Medal in the Drawing and Illustration category for his piece entitled “Waiting in the Garage.” This makes Powell just the second student in the history of QACPS to win a National Scholastic Gold Medal.

Jackson described his work: “Even in a suburban neighborhood, you never really know your neighbors. Seemingly all cookie-cutter, there are strong personalities that might remain hidden and take you off guard when you least expect it.”

National Medalists and their educators are honored annually with medals, and by special celebrity guests, including past guests Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Kelly Clarkson, Zac Posen, Nick Cannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tina Fey, and Rose Byrne. Notable Scholastic Art alumni include Amanda Gorman, Ken Burns, Robert Redford, Kay WalkingStick, Cy Twombly, Richard Avedon, and Andy Warhol, so these students are now in the company of some of the greatest artists of our time.

Michael Bell, QACPS Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts, expressed his pride in the students’ achievements: “This is a tremendous, record-breaking national accomplishment for our district. Our students’ creativity and hard work keep earning them national acclaim, and I couldn’t be prouder of our art students, and their art teachers for their dedication to get to such a prestigious platform.”

View the 2024 Scholastic Awards National Celebration online via YouTube.