PILOT MOUNTAIN — Parents, students and educators were truly wowed Thursday night by the talent on display at an arts showcase for students of Surry County Schools.
The second annual Arts WOW showcase drew hundreds of people to Pilot Mountain Middle School to witness the school district’s top talent in visual arts, music and drama. Organizers prepared for 800 people to attend, and many families had to park at East Surry High School and take a shuttle to the middle school.
Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent of Surry County Schools, said, “I am wowed at the response from parents and students.”
The event began with an art gallery opening at 5 p.m., and refreshments were served then as well. The gallery featured around 400 pieces of student artwork in the categories of two-dimensional, three-dimensional, photograph and digital media. The categories were divided by grade level. The pieces were evaluated by a panel of seven judges prior to the event, and top awards were announced during a special program that began at 6 p.m.
Clark Goings, a member of the Surry County Board of Education, said he was “astonished” at the level of talent, especially by those of such a young age.
Fellow board member Sue Stone said she was overwhelmed. “They are very talented,” she remarked. “Our teachers can draw out their hidden talents.”
This was the third year for the Superintendent’s Art Contest. Board of Education member Michele Hunter was one of the judges for the contest. She said, “I’ve actually had the privilege to judge every year. I’m amazed every year at how the art gets so much greater. Some things these kids are doing are just phenomenal.”
Jan Varney, principal at Dobson Elementary School, said of the event, “It’s phenomenal. We would never know the talent out there.”
Lane Grant, a fifth-grader at White Plains Elementary School, created a piece of pottery, which she said she really loves to do. It was her first year participating in the show. Sara Windsor, a kindergartner at Shoals Elementary School, painted a picture of a garden. She said, “It’s fun.” Her sister Anna Windsor, a second-grader at Shoals, made a sculpture of a horse. She enjoys making sculptures of horses and other animals and said it makes her “happy” to see it on display.
There was a silent auction containing art pieces donated by students and faculty members. All proceeds went to the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation. Admission to the event was free, but donations were welcomed. The educational foundation was created by a group of local business leaders in January 2011 to help students pursue higher education and reward teachers with professional learning opportunities and classroom projects.
Starting around 6 p.m., a program was held to give out awards and showcase musical and theatrical talent of local students. Monse Ramirez, an eighth-grader at Pilot Mountain Middle School, was recognized for designing the medallions handed out during the ceremony.
Performing during the event were Pilot Mountain Middle School Jazz Band, Surry County Glee Choir, N.C. Elementary State Honors Chorus, N.C. Middle School Honors and All State Chorus, Surry Big Band, Will Bryant, the Gentry Middle School Drama Club, and Kaitlyn Colbert.
Those honored during the evening were Surry County members of the N.C. Elementary Honors Chorus, N.C. Middle School Honors Chorus, N.C. Middle School All-State Honors Chorus, N.C. High School Honors Chorus, N.C. High School All-State Honors Chorus, Mars Hill College Choral Clinic, Surry County Glee Choir, Surry Middle School Honors Band First Chair, Northwest Middle School All-District Band, Surry High School honors Band First Chair, and Northwest High School All-District Band.
Hinson said, “You combine the artwork with the food with the facility with the huge crowd and program, it’s all certainly a wonderful event.”
The superintendent said the event has achieved what the school district set out to do: “accentuate the arts.”
“I’ve always wanted for our rural school districts to be able to show folks that we have culture and talent to match any metropolitan area,” Hinson remarked.
Hunter of the board of education remarked, “I don’t think you can separate the arts from an overall education, not if you want a good education.”
She mentioned the different curriculum components of education and said, “The arts are rooted in all of these things and make your ability to learn them easier.”
Dr. Jeff Tunstall, director of student accountability for the school district and master of ceremonies at Arts WOW, stated during the program, “The arts are reading, math, science and social studies all rolled into one. We can’t do without them.”
Also announced Thursday night were the Superintendent’s Art Contest winners:
• Two-dimensional, grades K-2: first place, Brooke Mosley, Rockford Elementary School; second, Jocelyn Avila, Dobson Elementary; third, Damion Cregger, Rockford Elementary; honorable mention, Rubi Speaks, Franklin Elementary.
• Two-dimensional, grades 3-5: first, Jaynes Willard, Pilot Mountain Elementary; second, Stephanie Simpson, Franklin Elementary; third, Gracie’s World, Erin Weaver, Mountain Park Elementary; honorable mention, Gina Patel of Rockford Elementary and Ashley Martinez of Dobson Elementary.
• Two-dimensional, grades 6-8: first, Kaitlyn Mayes, Meadowview Middle; second, Brianna Speight, Meadowview Middle; third, Benjamin Robertson, Central Middle; honorable mention, Kellie Brown, Central Middle.
• Two-dimensional, grades 9-12: first, Jodie Elier, East Surry High School; second, Savannah Holt, North Surry; third, Kayla Leighann Atkins of North Surry and Erin Howlett of Surry Central; honorable mention, Madison Bouldin, East Surry.
• Three-dimensional, grades K-2: first, Kendall White, Rockford Elementary; second, Anna Windsor, Shoals Elementary; third: Auriaunna Hall, Dobson Elementary; honorable mention, Austin Hayes, Dobson Elementary.
• Three-dimensional, grades 3-5: first, Draken Cruise, Pilot Mountain Elementary; second, Evann Marie Shelnutt, Cedar Ridge Elementary; third, MacKenzie Boyles, Copeland Elementary; honorable mention, Hand Ward, Cedar Ridge Elementary.
• Three-dimensional, grades 6-8: first, Haley Beeson, Pilot Mountain Middle; second, Leslie Belmonte, Central Middle; third, Caleb Lowe, Meadowview Middle; honorable mention: Caroline Willard, Pilot Mountain Middle.
• Three-dimensional, grades 9-12: first, Marco Secundino, Surry Central High; second, Alex Haskins, East Surry; third, Kayla Feeney, Surry Central; honorable mention: Deniese Lara, Surry Central.
• Two-dimensional digital media and photography, grades 3-5: first, Bryson Moody, Mountain Park Elementary; second, Adrian Cabrera-Juarez, White Plains Elementary; third, Jasmine Garcia, Copeland Elementary; honorable mention, Hayley Wilmoth, Cedar Ridge Elementary.
• Two-dimensional digital media and photography, grades 6-8: first, Alyssa Puckett, Gentry Middle; second, Corbin Willard, Meadowview Middle; third, Madison Meadows, Gentry Middle; honorable mention, Lee’A Hiatt, Meadowview Middle.
• Two-dimensional digital media and photography, grades 9-12: first, Jennifer Coe, Surry Central High; second, Avilene Villicana, Surry Central; third, Maegan Johnson, Surry Early College; honorable mention, Dallas Hartley, East Surry.
• 2011 Surry County Schools’ Christmas Card: Krista Elliott, East Surry High School.
Contact Meghann Evans at 719-1952 or email@example.com.