By Amanda Amsel
A local elementary school student was recently recognized for her artistic talents by the education leaders of the United States in a ceremony at our nation’s capital.
Alton Hall Elementary School third grader Haley Young recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the opening of the Reflections Art Exhibition.
“Haley competed in the Reflections Art Contest through the South-Western PTA,” said Judi Young, Haley’s mom. “She competed in this contest last year when she was in the second grade in the category of kindergarten to second grade.”
The theme of the contest was The Magic of the Moment. For the contest, Young created a 2D paper collage of her cat smelling flowers and titled it “The Cat Who Smells Flowers.”
“I look old pieces of wrapping paper and scrapbook paper and made my artwork,” Haley Young said. “I was inspired by my cat Rosy, she is gray and loves to sniff flowers.”
This talented young artist drew the cat and flowers herself on a canvas before filling it in with various pieces of paper.
“I have been creating art since I was 5 years old,” she said. “I love to be creative and to be free to express myself.”
Approximately 500,000 students from across the United States competed in the competition and only three students won in her age category.
“I teach others how to create this form of artwork and I taught her how to do it when she was a little girl,” Judi Young said. “I am just so proud of her, my husband and I were just shocked and thrilled when she kept making it to the next levels of the contest.”
Young competed against other South-Western City School students, then other students from the entire state and then students from across the country. In the end only 60 students were recognized nationally and Young was one of them.
In the spring, Young was notified that she had won the national contest and a few weeks ago traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the official opening of the exhibit.
At the ceremony, the U.S. Department of Education heads congratulated the students on their accomplishments. Young was given a medal and $200 for her winning entry. She also was lucky enough to cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony.
The art exhibit that features Young’s work will remain in Washington, D.C. for a few more months and then will travel the country for two years, inspiring other students to use their own creativity to create masterpieces.
Young plans to continue creating art and hopes to inspire other children.
“I want to be a art teacher when I grow up,” she said. “I want to teach people that it is important to be yourself and use your creativity.”