Submitted by the San Juan Island School District
The Scholastics Art Competition is the largest national art competition in the country averaging nearly 340,000 student entries a year. The only two students from Friday Harbor High School who entered the Scholastics Art Competition, both received awards and recognition in the Western Region-at-Large. Senior Katie Place was awarded the Silver Key Individual Award and senior Soma Andrews was awarded the Gold Key Individual Award. On top of this honor, Andrews also won the Gold Key Portfolio.
Gold Key Individual Award recipients automatically advance for adjudication at the national level in New York City. Along with Andrews’ portfolio, only nineteen other Gold Key Portfolios were selected from the Western Region to advance to the National Competition. A Gold Key Portfolio award requires a series of eight distinct works that communicate a single cohesive idea or visual investigation rather than a single image entry.
According to Andrews, “When I found out my portfolio won I was so excited I started shaking. The focus of my portfolio is on the homelessness crisis in America and what major factors are contributing to the escalation of this serious social issue. It is important to me as an artist to use my abilities to draw attention to issues I care about and hopefully promote change. Of course, I hope my portfolio wins at the national level but I am really happy to have won this stage of the competition.”
At the national level, eight gold key art portfolios will be selected to receive a cash award of $10,000. Students who receive National Gold Medals or Special Achievement Awards are honored at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June.
FHHS Art teacher Andrew Anderson commented, “I am so proud of Katie and Soma’s epic accomplishments. In the case of Soma, note that it is extremely difficult to win a Gold Key Portfolio when you consider the number of talented young artists across the Western Region. Not only did Soma have to compete against students from much larger schools, but also against many of the talented students at the top-ranked art magnet schools. She has consistently stepped up to this artistic challenge and has done an outstanding job. I am hopeful that she can win at the national level, but regardless of the outcome there, it is important to recognize that these students, Soma and Katie, are both marvelous artists who have been a joy to teach.”