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Artistic ability in ample supply among DCSD high schools

"Anatomy of a Superhero" by Erynn Coleman

DENVER – Art students from across the District represented Douglas County well in the 2014 Scholastic Art Awards.

46 works created by Douglas County School District (DCSD) students were selected for recognition in the Colorado region. Gold Key, Silver Key honors are awarded in two categories: Portfolio and Individual Work. Honorable Mentions are also awarded for each category.

Ponderosa High School Art Teacher Patricia Hayes is pleased, although not surprised with the results of this year’s competition.

“I feel we have one of the strongest art programs in the state as evidence by our success in Scholastics, which is like the State Championship for Art Students,” Hayes said. “We have really strong art educators [in DCSD]. Art is very complex and difficult for the average person to understand, even those who are naturally good at it. Besides being good at art, our students understand and can explain in detail why their art is successful.“

Jon Cushing, an art teacher at Highlands Ranch High School agrees. “The arts in DCSD have been strong for years, as evidenced by our representation in Scholastics year in and year out.“

He added, “I create projects that are challenging and demanding, and the students respond with hard work; creating work that is personal, meaningful, and done with a level of excellence. Of course, this generation wants immediate results, but visual art students are taught that time and effort improves your originality and craftsmanship.”

Cushing sees a strong connection between art education and integration of 21st Century skills.

“Almost naturally, art enhances 21st Century skills, because in the process of creating a work of art you need to problem solve and think critically about the opportunities you have to choose things like perspective, materials, colors, etc., and how those elements will help you communicate your message and challenge conventions.”

Hayes also recognizes that her students are inherently developing 21st Century skills as they pursue their interest in art.

“My students have ePortfolios, and art blogs, and they do a majority of their inquiry through Internet sources. They use my classroom website and they also use their student Google accounts to collaborate and communicate.”

In reflection, Hayes comments about how art education has evolved since she was an emerging artist. “When I was in high school, I would go to galleries and museums for inspiration. Now my students can visit those places online. My students are constantly looking for inspiration in places the average person doesn't think about, such as Tumbler and other social media sites.”

Now, these students will have the opportunity to inspire others. Their artwork, along with winning entries from throughout the Colorado region will be on display at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (1600 Pierce St., Denver) in the Philip J. Steele Gallery and the Rotunda Pavilion through February 26. Selected works will then travel to the Denver Art Museum for exhibit from March 7 – April 4.

Upon conclusion of these exhibits, Colorado's Gold Key art will be sent to New York City for entry in the national competition, where jurors will select work for national recognition based on Originality, Technique, and Emergence of a Personal Vision or Voice.

Colorado Gold Key winners who place at the national level will be invited to the Gala Ceremony held at Carnegie Hall in June, and their work will be showcased at an exhibit at Parsons-The New School for Design. Winners will also be eligible for scholarships offered through the program.

Follow this link to learn more and view an online gallery. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is coordinated by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a not-for-profit organization. Since 1923, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program has fostered the creative development of teenagers across the country. This is done by identifying emerging artists for college scholarship consideration and by showing their work to a national audience.

DCSD Scholastic Art Award Recipients
2014 Gold Key Portfolios
Name School Teacher  
Samantha Chase Mountain Vista High School Kahn  
James Delahaye Douglas County High School Ross  
Alexandra Emond Ponderosa High School Hayes  
Tessa Johnson ThunderRidge High School Wilson  
2014 Gold Key Individual Works
Name School Teacher Work Title
Mackenzie Busick Legend High School Thornton Squid
Kaitlyn Benton Mountain Vista High School Kahn Flower
Nadia Brecl Highlands Ranch High School Coulson Complimentary Colors
Nadia Brecl Highlands Ranch High School Coulson Floral
Hannah Coburn Highlands Ranch High School Cushing Yelling
Hannah Coburn Highlands Ranch High School Cushing Clothes Pin
Erynn Coleman Ponderosa High School Hayes Anatomy of a Superhero
Carter Daughtry ThunderRidge High School Ormiston Blossoming Thoughts
Shriya Gandhi Douglas County High School Speegle Self Portrait
Jessica Hei ThunderRidge High School Silverman What Goes Up
Samantha Keeler Legend High School Modesitt Rainy Day
Carolina Kronbauer Mountain Vista High School Goldman King Fisher
Taylor Kuta ThunderRidge High School Ormiston Circle of Light
Clare McElligatt Ponderosa High School Hayes Believe Dream Inspire
Kyle O'Hearn ThunderRidge High School Silverman Emerald Capsule
Megan Stern ThunderRidge High School Silverman Fire Within
Ryan Tiongson ThunderRidge High School Silverman Energy
2014 Silver Key Portfolios
Name School Teacher  
Carter Daughtry ThunderRidge High School Ormiston  
Taylor Schofield Highlands Ranch High School Cushing  
2014 Silver Key Individual Works
First Name School Teacher Work Title
Ashley Bradley Rock Canyon High School Walter Lunch In The City
Jamie Brunworth ThunderRidge High School Ormiston Twisted Triangle
Hannah Coburn Highlands Ranch High School Cushing Buster Brown
Bryce Deshazar Douglas County High School Speegle Falling
Caitlin Mckoy Platte River Academy Charter School Cramond On Fire
Corrie Merrill ThunderRidge High School Wilson My Sister
Rannen Worsley Castle View High School Henry Car Accident
David Wreschner Mountain Vista High School Johnston Selfie
Karin Wyks Mountain Vista High School Johnston Kaleidoscope
2014 Honorable Mention Portfolios
Name School Teacher  
Hannah Coburn Highlands Ranch High School Cushing  
Blake Graf Mountain Vista High School Johnston  
Ryan Ham Legend High School Barr  
Mark Maggs Mountain Vista High School Johnston  
Rachel Mansfield Ponderosa High School Hayes  
Andy Shimmin Highlands Ranch High School Coulson  
2014 Honorable Mention Individual Works
First Name School Teacher Work Title
Margaret Anderson ThunderRidge High School Silverman Oceans Depth
Gabrielle Forinash Ponderosa High School Hayes Vacancy
Ashlie Helgeland Legend High School Rowinski Dependency
Jenna Jaeger ThunderRidge High School Silverman Aztec Gold
Tessa Johnson ThunderRidge High School Wilson Self Portrait
Jessica Martinez Ponderosa High School Hayes Reflection of Self
Raquel Medrano ThunderRidge High School Ormiston Starved By Perfection
Aidan Stonzenbach Mountain Vista High School Johnston Mannequins On The Move

Related story: Photo contest captures creative spirit of DCSD students and staff

February 11, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: High School Education

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.