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Astrid Mejia sat in on a recent history class that was surveying the Bubonic Plague. In the textbook was a picture of a doctor’s mask that was used especially for the epidemic.

The peculiar shape of the beak-like mask left the Schuyler Central High School junior awestruck.

“I really got into how it looked,” she said. “So I wanted to draw something that used the shape and mask.”

Last summer she got to work on a colored pencil drawing that incorporated three of these doctors into a masterful piece of art. This hard work paid off when Mejia was one of six SCHS students to win awards through this year’s Nebraska Scholastic Art competition.

Awards are given for Honorable Mention, Silver Key, and Gold Key. Gold Keys are then judged at the national level against other golds. On March 9, the pieces will be judged in order to win national titles. Also in March, gold key pieces will be taken to the TAC building in Omaha to be displayed.

Mejia has taken art classes all through her high school career. That is not the case for Roselyn Gonzalez.

“I’m a senior this year and have never taken an art class,” Gonzalez said. “I didn’t think I was good at it. But I wanted to try it out this year. I got in, and Trotter helped me out and made me realize how good I can be.”

This inspiration was fueled when Gonzalez got a package in the mail. In that package was a small piece of orange shag felt.

“I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first,” she said. “Then I figured it kind of looked like a rug. So I cut it out into a shape, and made a bear head out of clay with four paws. Then I glued them to the rug.”

This vibrant bear rug won Gonzalez two honorable mentions for sculpture.

“It feels nice since it’s my first year in art,” she said.

Another student who placed in the competition was Guadalupe Rodriguez. Aside from winning two gold keys, an honorable mention and a silver key, she managed to become the first SCHS student to take home a gold key for a portfolio submission.

SCHS art instructor Michael Trotter says his students should view these competitions as encouragement.

“Healthy competition pushes kids to do better and better,” Trotter said. “I think this Scholastic is important not only to show kids how great they are, but to show everyone what these guys can do.”

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