Jupiter High wins big at county’s Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition

Jupiter High students were honored with six Gold Keys, eight Silver Keys and 19 Honorable Mentions in the Palm Beach County Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition. Jupiter entered 65 art pieces into the competition in Dec., and this was the first year a JHS student received a Gold Key award for an art portfolio, a prestigious honor that is eligible for a $10,000 scholarship.  

The Gold Key winners include Tayleigh Lucas, who won for her art portfolio, Jennie Hernandez Saenz, Kayli Richter, Sol Lima, Jocelyn Oliveria and Gerbrecht Müller. The Silver Key winners are Alexander Bereck, Erica Head, Jennie Hernandez Saenz, Nicole Huneke, Autumn Johnstone, Spencer Sanford, Calvin Trudeau and Gerbrecht Müller. Riley Barnes, Alexander Bereck, Sofia Deleonardo, Zoe Denmark, Ava Dinow, Gabrielle Fuchslocher, Megan Hack, Noah Hamilton, Erica Head, Jillian Mcvey, Kassidy Ochs, Leanna Overbeck, Avryl Oviedo-Gonzalez, Jordan Ragsdale, Autumn Johnstone, Ashlee Russo, Calvin Trudeau, Kateleen Walker and Reese Walker all received Honorable Mentions. 

The Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards is the nation’s longest-running and most esteemed scholarship program recognizing students in grades seven to 12 for writing and artwork. The awards’ program provides students with opportunities to attend workshops and to have work publicly displayed and published in both regional and national exhibitions. 

The Gold Key is the highest award a student can receive in judging, while the Silver Key is the second highest. All work is judged locally for its quality, originality, technical skill and individual voice. Gold Key work is sent to New York for further judging. 

Gold and Silver Key winners had their work displayed during the first week of Feb. at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach. The winners are also eligible to receive a scholarship to an early summer program in art at the collegiate level. 

Jupiter High’s Sarah Knudtson oversees the submission of art to the Scholastic Awards. She teaches AICE Digital Design, AP Studio Art: 2D Design, AP Studio Art: Drawing, Creative Photography, AICE A Level and AP Art History. Along with teaching classes, Knudtson sponsors the National Art Honor Society. 

“This is the first year we’ve had a Gold Key portfolio. Last year, we had a Silver Key and that was exciting. The year before an Honorable Mention, so we’ve really worked up to it,” Knudtson said. 

For Knudtson, the Scholastic Arts and Writing competition is an important part of recognizing student talent.

I’ve been helping students participate in Scholastics since 2000 and knew about the contest as a student. I have made it a requirement for AP 2D, AP Drawing and AICE A Level Art students to participate. I also offer extra credit to my other students, so I am sure that helps,” Knudtson said

Gerbrecht Müller, a Jupiter High senior, was recognized as a Gold and Silver Key winner for two original photographs. 

“My photograph that won a Silver Key was [titled] ‘The Colorful Girl,’ and my other photograph that won a Gold Key was [titled] ‘Dreaming,’” Müller said, “‘The Colorful Girl’ could be described as bold and colorful because I painted the person’s face in the photograph…‘Dreaming’ could be described as peaceful and calming since it depicts a girl surrounded by nature laying on a tree stump looking into the distance.” 

Müller shares advice to other students who want to pursue art and perhaps enter an art competition. 

“If you like to create art, [do not] ever stop or give up in making something that makes you happy,’’ Müller said. 

Jordan Ragsdale, Jupiter High senior and president of the National Art Honor Society, received two Honorable Mentions, one for photography and the other for her art portfolio. Ragsdale’s artwork was titled “We Will Not Be Silenced,” along with her portfolio titled “Feminine Empowerment.” Ragsdale describes her work as “feminist and truthful” and was honored to be receive the Scholastics recognition.

Avyrl Oviedo-Gonzalez, a Jupiter High junior also entered and received an Honorable Mention for a photo titled “Suffocation.”

“It was a piece that spoke about a lot of issues in today’s society,” Oviedo-Gonzalez said. “My motivation for entering was to hopefully win the scholarship. My dream is to go to a really cool art school out of state, but that costs a lot of money that I do not have.” 

Knudtson feels the number of entries this year contributed to the school’s success, and she was excited about not only the increased interest in the awards but also the financial support. 

“As students learn about the competition, they are more excited to enter. I noticed that students who had previously entered were more selective in their entries or entered more works,” Knudtson said. “Another factor is cost. This year and last year our students did particularly well and that was partially due to financial support of a parent donor, whose generosity paid for many of the entries.” 

Knudtson shared her advice for students who are looking to enter and who are hoping to succeed. 

“I would advise them to select work that has a clear individual voice. Scholastic is looking for work created outside the classroom, as opposed to assignment based work. For example, if I was to assign my classes to all photograph a ball of yarn and we submitted 60 photographs of yarn balls, it wouldn’t matter how good the photos were, they would be lacking originality,’’ Knudtson said. 

For more information, visit the following link: https://www.artandwriting.org/