Three Kilgore High School students have pursued their passion for art to statewide recognition and awards at an exclusive competition.
Sophomore Sophia Villarreal, junior Anushka Pradhan and junior Chelsey Womack represented KHS by having their original artworks selected for competition at the High School Visual Arts and Scholastic Event at San Marcos High School April 26-27.
Pradhan brought home a State Medal for her mixed media painting of the Fine Arts Palace in San Francisco.
KHS Fine Arts teacher Holly Harper said she was proud of her students for the artworks they created. In addition to qualifying for state competition, the three high-schoolers were able to participate in live competitive events in San Marcos for a shot at scholarships.
“All three girls said they were a little nervous at first, only because they didn’t know what to expect,” Harper said. “All three students attended their first workshop with about 100 other students for a chance to win a $500 scholarship. They had an hour and a half to draw from a model as their inspiration with only a ballpoint pen. Even though they didn’t take home scholarship money, they were able to take home the artwork that was created during these workshops.”
The students also attended workshops involving origami, working with clay and sketching. Harper said these contests helped students keep themselves busy instead of worrying about how they placed in the overall competition.
Harper, along with other teachers, was able to view the artworks while students were attending workshops. She was thrilled to discover a blue “State Medalist” sticker placed on Pradhan’s artwork and quickly informed the Kilgore students of the success.
“I let them know that Anushka medaled once the first workshop was over! They were all very excited that someone from KHS was able to take home a state medal! I know Anushka was shocked because she told me there was a lot of artwork there that should’ve received state medals too. I know all of them were happy to have even gone as far as the state competition,” Harper said.
For the three students, making it to state-level competition is no easy feat. Harper described the tough competition they faced as they made their way to the state event.
“Just so you know how challenging these competitions are, there were only 2,300 artworks selected for the state competition around the state of Texas. Then, out of those 2,300 artworks, 140 of them were selected to bring home a state medal,” she said.
Not only is the achievement significant for Pradhan, Villarreal and Womack, it’s also an achievement for the entire high school and the district.
“Kilgore High School has had students qualify for the State Art Competition in years past. But I’ve been at Kilgore High School for 9 years and it’s been 8 years now since I’ve had my students compete at the UIL competitions. But this is the first year for my students to qualify and medal at State. I couldn’t be prouder than I am of my students than I am now!” Harper said.