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Wauwatosa High School Students Display Talents, Receive Recognition for Visual Arts

This month, Wauwatosa high school students received recognition for their visual art works in sculpture, photography, drawing and illustration, digital art, film and animation, mixed media and more. A total of 55 students from both Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West high schools received at least one Scholastic Art + Writing Award, and Wauwatosa West junior Sky Greer (aka Evelyn Winter) has been nominated for the prestigious American Visions Award for her animation, “The Happening.” Students also shared their animation and film work with family and friends via each school’s film festival. This year marked the second year of the festival for Wauwatosa East, while Wauwatosa West held its inaugural event. 

The ​Scholastic Art + Writing Awards is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Since 1923, the Scholastic Awards have sparked the creative growth of many teens. Submissions are judged by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, and award winners are celebrated via ceremonies, exhibitions and publications. When evaluating works, jurors look for works that exemplify the Awards’ core values of originality, skill and the emergence of a personal voice or opinion. All entries are considered for Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention and American Visions Nominee Awards. All Gold Key entries are automatically considered for national awards including Gold Medal, Silver Medal with Distinction, Silver Medal, and scholarship awards. National medalists are eligible for scholarships of up to $12,500. 

Student artists at Wauwatosa East earned a total of 51 awards including 31 Honorable Mentions, 15 Silver Keys and five Gold Keys. Gold Key winners include Lily Bartz, Evelyn Lowe, Kaito Pokrandt, Amara Rappold (portfolio), and Sylvia Zautner. Silver Key winners include Sam Bartz, Max Comincioli, Kamari Durham, McKenna Fox, Maya Gresk, Bayden Grose, Thora Holst, Maeve Kaufman, Maria Knack, Avery Lewis, Katherina Safarik, Carter Stefanich, and Tille Vande Hei. Honorable Mentions included Sam Bartz Madelyn Brown, Max Comincioli, Kamari Durham, Joy Farnsworth, Ellie Gardner, Retta Gebhardt, Felix Gilgannon, Maya Gresk, Lucy Hildebrand, Maria Knack, Libby Koss, Quinn Lanke, Zoe Macdonald, Lily Nikolic, Ana Oliver, Luli Perez, Nadia Phillips, Mekhi Robinson, Gwen Roter, Eva Schultz, Anna Stefanich, Merin Touzios, Noah Turley, and Isabel Waier. 

Students at Wauwatosa West earned a total of 30 awards including 20 Honorable Mentions, five Silver Keys and five Gold Keys. Gold Key winners include Calista Albert, Sky Green (Evelyn Winter), Caleb Hoze, and Lauren Laserstein. Silver Key winners include Sky Greer (Evelyn Winter), Caleb Hoze, Lauren Laserstein, and Skye Mai. Honorable Mentions include Eliot Began, Meghan Brandenburg, Anna Connolly, Jolie Fugarino, Anika Goodman, Sky Greer (Evelyn Winter), Hannah Kabelowsky, Liberty Kaishian, Lauren Laserstein, Eve Lazarski, Maya Le, Daisy Lehman, Skye Mai, and Sawyer Vespalec. 

All works recognized by the Scholastic Art + Writing Awards will be on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum from Saturday, February 4 through Sunday, March 19, 2023. 

Teachers who facilitated student learning and provided guidance and encouragement along the way include Wauwatosa East High School educators Kelly Frederick Mizer, Megan McKay, and Molly Brennan, and Selena Marris, Jessi Belich, and Cindy Lanman from Wauwatosa West High School.

“It’s an extremely rare achievement for all of the art teachers at a high school to have award-winning work,” stated Means. “However, the fact that every art teacher at both of our high schools has facilitated award-winning artwork is absolutely incredible.” 

Each regional Scholastic Art + Writing program nominates five teens for the American Voices Award or the American Visions Award. Nominees for this prestigious award must have at least one Gold Key work with an original, authentic voice or vision. Factors considered for naming American Visions nominees include the representation of diverse mediums, viewpoints and backgrounds. National jurors select one nominee from each region for the American Voices or Visions Award, and Greer’s “The Happening” has received a nomination. A special award label will accompany her work at the Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition. 

“In Wauwatosa, we believe that students should be encouraged to pursue their interests and talents. We’re pleased to provide a well-rounded curriculum and a robust course catalog, which allows students to create an academic journey that continues to pique their interest and align with their interests,” stated Dr. Demond Means, Wauwatosa School District Superintendent. 

Wauwatosa High Schools also shared the animation and film work of students via community film festivals. Many of the works showcased at the film festivals were created in Animation + Moving Images and Media Comm classes. All students - not just those enrolled in an art or English class - were encouraged to participate and submit work to the festivals. 

The Wauwatosa East video can be found here and contains work by Jack Bartkowski, Anna Beaman, Sophie Birschbach, Lily Buer, Sean Cortright, Terry Dixon, Madison Doney, Quinn Fitzsimmons, Claire Foley, James Franklin, Julia Gamroth, Bruno Gilkay, Javionna Graham, Aidan Hanley, Tjora Holst, Ash Janke, Ryan Jauch, Elan Jimenez, Lucy Laritson, CJ Lee, Nora MacKelly, Lydia Omernik, Ajax O'Neal, Tomas Pena, Carter Stefanich, Jacoby Steward, Brooke Thompson, Noah Turley, Sam Vandre, and Melina Voravong. The Wauwatosa East film festival served as a unique cross-curricular, collaborative project between the Fine Arts and English departments, facilitated by art teachers and Wauwatosa East English teacher Jean Biebel.  

Wauwatosa West’s video can be found here and includes work by Calista Albert, Max Almazan, Angel Altoro, Sydney Badciong, Pablo Cortez, Charles Cruz, Kiara Fulton, Liberty Kaishian, Lauren Laserstein, Skye Mai, Jackson Peterson, Ethan Starr, Easton Vang, and Siah Washington. 

“I continue to be impressed with the talents and skills displayed by our students,” said Means. “The fact that many of these artists had no experience with the media they showcased prior to September is a testament to their hunger for knowledge, dedication to their craft and pride in their work. The manner in which our students’ talent was fostered over the last four months underscores the importance of high-quality, engaging instruction and the continued need for the arts in our public schools.”