Frenship art students win 19 Gold Key awards, most in region

A dozen Frenship High School students won a Gold Key at the recent Regional Scholastic Art Awards held at Wayland Baptist University.

All of the Gold Key winners will have their work entered into the national Scholastic Art & Writing contest in New York City.

Those who won were Alexis Hernandez, Skylar Perez, Sarah Baker, Tabitha Hansen, Misty Enns, Jordan Watts, Kenzie Roberts, Maddison Respondek, Ashley Villa, Johnny Olvera, Layla Petty and Korbin Stewart.

Frenship had a total of 19 artworks that were awarded a Gold Key.

“Frenship had the most Gold Key winners of any school in the region two years in a row now,” said Joey MacLean, an art teacher at FHS.

An additional seven entries won a Silver Key at the Regional Scholastic Art Awards, including works from Villa, Perez, Taylor Sutherland, Dakota Raggio, Sophia Vizza, Tyler Brown and Jonathan Kennedy.

Watts won eight Gold Keys, as well as the American Vision Award, which means that the work he won with will have a one-in-five shot of winning a national award in the Scholastic competition.

Watts’ winning painting, “Extra,” is a triptych, or a painting divided into three sections. It features three young newspaper boys from around the turn of the 20th century, and is a recreation of a Lewis Hine photo of child labor.

Child labor is a topic of interest to Watts, he said, and he pointed out that although children in our country are generally not laboring anymore, there are young girls who are getting pregnant early.

“There’s still kids that are having to grow up at a young age,” said Watts.

Watts, a senior, said he plans to study art at Texas Tech next year and to possibly study abroad later in Scotland or Ireland.

He also plays drums in the band Don’t Wake the Bear.

“Both of my parents were music majors, so we are a very musically inclined family,” said Watts.

Although he had been involved in Frenship bands for five years, he said he had to quit to focus on art this year.

“He got out of band this year to concentrate on art, and obviously, it’s made a big difference,” said MacLean, his Advanced Placement art instructor.

MacLean said Frenship has had an American Vision winner for the past five or six years, but he joked that it may not be his teaching.

“The really good, talented students — I just kind of stay out of their way and it turns out awesome and ends up winning the American Vision,” MacLean said with a laugh.

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