LPS students secure state awards for stellar artwork

Lincoln Public Schools students turned their artistic dreams into prize-winning reality at the 2024 Scholastic Art Awards of Nebraska contest.
More than three dozen LPS teenagers earned awards in the annual program, which features all types of artistic mediums. High school students from Arts and Humanities Focus Program, Lincoln High, East, North Star, Northwest and Southwest captured honors this year.

Lorinda Rice, visual art curriculum specialist at LPS, said she was happy to have a large number of students receive applause for their abilities.

“Scholastic has been compared to going to state in a sport and winning the championship,” Rice said. “It is always a good feeling to see LPS students being recognized for their creative and artistic talents. Gold and Silver Keys are a moment when our students are on the podium of excellence in the region.”
The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers (AYAW) oversees the national contest each year. The program's first round takes place in various regions worldwide. Participants had to be in grades 7-12 and live in the United States, Canada or U.S. territories or on U.S. military bases.
Students from across the state submitted entries to Nebraska Art Region judges this winter. Judges could present artists with Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention awards and American Visions Award nominations. They evaluated each entry without knowing any personal details about the young artists like their name or hometown.
There were no predefined contest themes for students to follow. This allowed their creative energy to come alive in categories such as photography, comic art, digital art, ceramics and glass, sculpture, drawing and illustration, media photography, portfolio, painting and mixed media.
Judges considered the AYAW’s core values of originality, skills and “emergence of a personal voice or vision” when they looked at each piece of art. They also considered elements that showcased talent and diversity of artistic media, viewpoints and backgrounds during the selection process.
Lincoln High sophomore Gabriella Johnson was one of a select few Nebraska students to be nominated for the American Visions Award. Nebraska Art Region judges could select up to five nominees for the award. Johnson entered a sculpture entitled “fatigue” in the contest. Judges gave her high marks for her artistic abilities with the sculpture.
AYAW leaders said all Gold Key artworks will automatically advance to national judging. AYAW will ask creative professionals who are based in New York City to review Gold Key winners from across the country. They will select recipients of national awards based on the same three criteria as regionals: skills, originality and emergence of a personal voice or vision.
Johnson and other students who earned American Visions Award nominations also advanced to national judging. AYAW leaders will announce national award recipients on June 14.

Rice said being recognized with state awards is a major achievement for all of the LPS recipients. She said it has been a key milestone in the lives of many current artists and professionals.

“Recognition by Scholastic goes back more than 100 years,” Rice said. “It is important for our students’ success in college applications and a demonstration of creative thinking and perseverance to a goal. Many talented students who have been recognized by Scholastic in high school have gone on to become some of the leaders in the fields of cinema, illustration, fashion and the fine arts communities.”
Omaha Public Schools is exhibiting artwork from Nebraska students who earned regional awards. Their artwork will be on display through April 19. Many LPS students also took part in a ceremony honoring regional winners this spring.

Click here to see artwork from all of this year’s LPS recipients.

Gold Key Recipients

Arts and Humanities Focus Program
Ethan Dudney – Comic Art – “Roaches vs Rats” – Freshman
Selah Pultz – Photography – “Ghost Gus” – Sophomore
East High School
Nicholas Li – Media Photography – “What Dreams Are Made Of” – Junior
Nicholas Li – Media Photography – “Burning Memories” – Junior
Nicholas Li – Media Painting – “Unwilling Lawyers” – Junior
Cheryl Zeng – Drawing and Illustration – “One Word Resolution” – Junior
Lincoln High
Gabriella Johnson – Sculpture – “fatigue” – Freshman (Gabriella also earned an American Visions Award nomination for her work)
Lane Hansen – Photography – “Flying Lights” – Freshman
North Star High School
Genesis Pompa-Ramirez – Photography – “Double Exposure Self Portrait” – Senior
Genesis Pompa-Ramirez – Photography – “Immigration: Bound” – Senior
Genesis Pompa-Ramirez – Photography – “Immigration: Missing Family” – Senior
Chase Strohmyer – Photography – “I Have the Power” – Junior
Chase Strohmyer – Photography – “Oreo Splash” – Junior
Southwest High School
Lily Huynh – Digital Art – “Mess of Death” – Sophomore
Lily Huynh – Digital Art – “Red String” – Sophomore
Tasa Nguyen – Digital Art – “Irremediable” – Junior

Silver Key Recipients

Arts and Humanities Focus Program
Adilynn Sonthana-Barak – Sculpture – “Fusion Ramen” – Senior
Milo Hintz – Digital Art – “Charged Spaces 1” – Senior
Anara McClure – Mixed Media – “Sea Nettle” – Senior
Natalia Velarde – Sculpture – “Achievement” – Sophomore
East High School
Elaine Yu – Painting – “Grandparent’s Village” – Junior
Lincoln High
Aurora Schroeder – Sculpture – “Fernando Pessoa” – Freshman
Hannah Chism – Ceramics and Glass – “ScareCrowCat” – Sophomore
Lane Hansen – Photography – “Departure” – Freshman
Lane Hansen – Photography – “Nature’s Reflection” – Freshman

North Star High School
Emma Covert – Photography – “Morning Rain” – Junior
Ryanna De La Cruz – Photography – “Looking Glass” – Senior
Genesis Pompa-Ramirez – Photography – “My Passions” – Senior
Chase Strohmyer – Photography – “Time Slice” – Junior
Southwest High School
Valerie Thulin – Photography – “Feelings” – Junior
Kyrie Wagner – Photography – “Cat Eye” – Junior

Honorable Mention Recipients

Arts and Humanities Focus Program
Anara McClure – Ceramics and Glass – “Do All Fairies Have Wings?” – Senior
Natalia Velarde – Sculpture – “Sorrow” – Sophomore
East High School
Elaine Yu – Painting – “Thinking With My Heart” – Junior
Lincoln High
Ramzi Abrahim – Portfolio – “Purpose” – Senior
Eli Larson – Portfolio – “Expressive Play” – Senior
Jaelynn Kelly – Ceramics and Glass – “Penguin” – Sophomore
North Star High School
Emma Covert – Photography – “Gold Fleur” – Junior
Chase Strohmyer – Photography – “Red/White I-80” – Junior
Northwest High School
Hajar Musawi – Drawing and Illustration – “If the Stars Align: The Story of the Large, Blank Canvas” – Senior
Southwest High School
Em Carel – Digital Art – “WET Cat” – Sophomore
Ava Pearson – Digital Art – “Magic of Destruction” – Senior
Ava Pearson – Drawing and Illustration – “What Dreams Are Made Of” – Senior

Published: March 28, 2024, Updated: April 1, 2024

Lincoln High freshman Gabriella Johnson was nominated for the prestigious American Visions Award for her sculpture. She was one of more than three dozen LPS students who earned honors in the 2024 Scholastic Art Awards of Nebraska contest. Judges recognized students for their talents in all types of artistic mediums.