By Joel Hall
Three students from Clayton County Public Schools were among the top five winners in this year's 13th Congressional District Student Art Competition.
Out of 96 students from 21 high schools in Clayton, Henry, Fulton, DeKalb, Douglas, and Cobb counties, students from Clayton schools took away third-, fourth-, and fifth-place awards.
Student participants, and their families, were honored during a special reception on Saturday, March 20, at the Arts Clayton gallery in Jonesboro. Mt. Zion High School student, Helen Souris, won third place for her piece "Stained Glass Cotton Candy;" Charles Drew High School student, Sean Cochran, won fourth place for his piece "Slow Rust;" and North Clayton High School student, Thomas Williams, won fifth place for "Flowers of Bliss."
Souris and Cochran won $2,000 and $1,000 scholarships to the Art Institute of Atlanta, respectively, and Williams' artwork will be exhibited in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Youth Art Gallery.
U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), whose office has sponsored the competition since 2003, said the pieces in this year's competition were "extraordinary" and evidence that "these students have such bright futures ahead of them."
"Each year, I am amazed at the artistic talents of the students in my district," Scott said. "Our annual art competition presents a wonderful opportunity for our community to celebrate the talents of our gifted young artists, who endeavor to succeed with focus and self-discipline. I am so proud to honor our top winners for their exceptional artistic achievements with scholarships, and I encourage all of this year's participating student artists to continue to set high goals for themselves."
Karen Powers, gallery manager of Arts Clayton, which co-sponsored the competition, said the high number of Clayton winners "speaks incredibly well for the great job our school system is doing in producing incredible artists."
The first- and second-place winners were students from Henry County schools. Anthony Lee, of Jesus Christ Our Hope Christian Academy in McDonough, won first place for his work, "Brothers In The Woods," and Ravica Koeut, of Stockbridge High School, won second place for her work, "Untitled."
Lee won the honor of having his art displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., as well as a choice of a $6,000 scholarship ($1,500 a year) to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), or a $10,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta.
Koeut was awarded a $5,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta.