Photo by Jeylin White
Pointe South Middle School Principal Dean Lillard (left) Agustin Duarte, Aaron Dickerson, Bryan Saldan, and art teacher Maurel Denge. These students placed in a recent art competition.
Pointe South Middle eighth-grader Aaron Dickerson recently won second place in a regional art competition, earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Istanbul, Turkey.
The shy eighth-grader said he was surprised when he learned that he won second place for the entire Southeast region, especially since it was his first art competition.
“I never expected to win,” said Dickerson. “When I found out I had won, I was shocked.”
However, his art teacher, Maurel Denge, was not surprised.
“Aaron is very talented,” said Denge. “About 75 percent of my students I teach art to are already talented; I just help to bring out their skills more.”
The contest, according to Denge, is sponsored by the Istanbul Center in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and the Georgia Department of Education. It was open to all middle- and high-school-aged students in five Southeastern states — Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
This year, in addition to placing second in the Southeast Region, Dickerson also placed first in the state in the Annual Global Connections Art & Essay Contest. In that same competition, other Pointe South Middle students who placed were: Bryan Saldan (sixth grade), who won fourth place in the state; Anthony Taylor (sixth grade), who won honorable mention in the state; and Agustin Duarte (eighth grade), who won honorable mention in the state.
Denge said the theme for the art competition was, “1 Billion Hungry in the World, What’s Your Role?”
Dickerson’s art portrayed two children, suffering from hunger, with hands wrapping around them. It also showed a young boy carrying a book bag, which Dickerson said represented himself. He said he drew the young boy to send a message that no one is ever too young to volunteer, or do something to end world hunger. The youngster said it took two months to complete his project.
Dickerson said he’s not sure if he will be able to travel to Turkey this summer because he has a family reunion to attend. However, Pointe South Principal Dean Lillard and Denge said they’re going to do everything to convince Dickerson’s mother to let him go.
“It’s a great opportunity and I believe this will help bring him out of his shell,” said Denge.
Last year’s winner of the same contest, Venessa Garcia, was much like Dickerson — shy and reserved — and it also took a lot of convincing, before her parents decided to let her travel out of the country, Lillard said.
Lillard who traveled to Turkey with Garcia, said it was the best thing that could have happened to her.
“When she came back from Turkey she was like a butterfly,” he said, “She just bloomed and went on to high school to do great things.”
He said for 10 days they were able to explore art and culture in Turkey, as well as other parts of Europe.
“I’m going to have to have a talk with [Aaron’s] mom,” said Lillard. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it will change his life.”