Four South students recognized for their art on national level

Caroline Stevens, Staff Writer

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“I have a burning need to create stuff,” sophomore Sinjun Strom says passionately about her art, “I can’t get to sleep without making something.” Strom is one of the four South High students that won a Scholastic Art Award this year. The other three students were senior Paul Hagen, senior Nina Keim, and junior Tomas Ray. The four students entered their artwork and won either gold keys or honorable mentions for their creations of pottery, mixed media images and photography.

“I get inspired by everything I see,” says Keim about her day-to-day art, “I just have ideas in my head, and I want to make impossible things seem possible.” Keim’s work was on display with the majority of the award winning art pieces at the Minnesota College of Art and Design until mid-February of this year.

“It’s really about physical practice and technique,” says Ceramics teacher Denny Sponsler, “guided practice in order to get people using principles that they use for design and things like that, that’s imperative.” While adding to the winning projects by coaching technique, Sponsler insists that the final products is truly the student’s, saying “I don’t touch the work.” The Ceramics class has plenty of high achievers, which Sponsler demonstrates: “We have a lot of Scholastic Art Award winners, we won a $2500 Tracy Award last year, we have a hotshot PSEO group that’s doing things that would easily win Scholastic Art Awards.”

Strom admits that her appreciation of art comes from her parents, saying, “They’re artists as well, so I’m just surrounded by it.” She feels grateful to have won the award, saying “It show that I’m improving and that all my hard work is paying off.” Keim is different in her reaction, revealing that “I was super shocked. I thought Mrs. Wolfe was messing with me.” Paul Hagen, another award-winner from South, says about winning that “it was kind of nice because it was a long process to make the piece that won.”

In addition to these students win Scholastic Art Awards, another South student, junior Elena Anderson won two Scholastic Writing Award, both her poetry and short story compositions received a gold. Anderson says that she is “nervous and excited for nationals,” which is the next level of the awards. “In any case, it’s an honor to be recognized on the regional level,” she adds. Anderson professes that her love of writing stems from how “it’s a way to say things that I wouldn’t say aloud. Sometimes it’s just a release.”

250,000 teenagers enter the Scholastic Art Awards each year, and to have not just one, but four students from South win is a big accomplishment, and it is just as impressive for South to be represented in the Scholastic Writing Awards at a national level. Through classes at South such as Ceramics and Painting, students are encouraged to express themselves and make the school proud, and the results can be from a good grade to a prestigious award such as the Scholastic Art Awards.

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