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Students Net National Awards for Artwork, Invited to Carnegie Hall


A unique necklace, camouflaged window cling, picture of colorful fish and a black-and-white photo of a thoughtful woman are the creative artworks that have gained local students national recognition.

Three Byron Center students and one East Grand Rapids local art student received top awards for their artwork, winning National Medals for this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. As national winners in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest their work was chosen from about 300,000 pieces of work submitted to the program across the country.

Katherine Minnaar's piece “Pisces.”
Katherine Minnaar’s piece “Pisces.”

Each student qualified for the national award by winning a top Gold Key Award at the 2015 West Central Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards event recently hosted by Kendall College of Art and Design.

Past Scholastic winners include Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Robert Redford, among many other notables.

Byron Center West Middle School eighth-graders Jordan Cooper and Anna Pavlak, students of art teacher Janine Campbell, received gold medals. Byron Center High School senior Katherine Minnaar, student of audio-visual teacher Julie VanderLaan, received a silver medal. East Grand Rapids junior Addyson Ives, student of Visual Art & Design Technology Elizabeth Miller-Wallau, received a silver medal. Addyson was also awarded the coveted American Visions Medal, given to one Gold Key-winning work from each regional competition.

Byron Center West Middle School student shows her piece, “Neck Nib”
Byron Center West Middle School student shows her piece, “Neck Nib”

Their Works

Anna created a necklace out of tips of calligraphy pens for a project to transform old things into something new, she said. She titled the piece, “The Neck Nib.”

“I think it’s cool to make something you can use,” she said.

Jordan’s piece is a photo of a window cling she made picturing herself on it and then displayed at a Target store. It’s called “Been There, Done That,” and she created it for an assignment on identity.

Byron Center senior Katherine Minnaar won for her picture, “Pisces,” of colorful fish.

Addyson photographed a close family friend, who is mentally challenged, sitting by herself in a living-room setting.

“It was a good moment to capture,” said Addyson, who is in teacher Visual Art & Design Technology Elizabeth Miller-Wallau’s photography class.

The students are invited to attend the National Award Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 11.

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Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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