SV, Mars students earn accolades for artwork, writing

| Saturday, March 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Seneca Valley Senior High School senior Laura Stewart has some advice for aspiring artists.

“Keep going,” Stewart said. “I didn't start out good, but with time and practice you eventually get there. And observe a lot. You'll end up getting your own style and you just fly from there.”

Stewart was among more than 40 Seneca Valley and Mars students who won top recognition at the Western Pennsylvania Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

They were recognized at a ceremony Feb. 23 at La Roche College.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the longest running and most prestigious scholarship program for non-collegiate students in the U.S.

Previous winners include artist Andy Warhol, author Truman Capote and actor Robert Redford.

Seneca Valley had nine Gold Key winners, 15 Silver Key winners and 22 honorable mentions.

Mars Area High School had two Gold Key winners, two Silver Key winners and five honorable mentions.

Students entered individual works or portfolios of six to eight pieces to be judged as a whole.

Gold Key winners will have the opportunity to enter their art in the national show in New York City in June.

Stewart received Gold Key awards for the painting “Tree” and the drawing “Vase” and several Silver Key awards for drawings.

She prefers to draw, but she has done “a little bit of everything,” she said.

“I love drawing because I can capture details and pull different things out that you wouldn't normally see or recognize in an object,” Stewart said. “I like to focus on the details. My style is very realistic and very detailed.”

Seneca Valley senior Catie Dillon won a Silver Key award for the oil painting “Through the Fire” and won a Gold Key for a mixed media piece she entered through Cherry Court Studios, a private art studio in Ross.

Dillon said she draws most of her inspiration from the world around her.

“I draw a lot in my sketchbook,” she said. “I take ideas from things I read or see in the news. I develop ideas from stuff around me.”

Jim Nagle, art teacher at Seneca Valley Senior High School, said he is proud of all of his students who entered the competition.

“We're always happy to have works go on to any high-level competition, but you know that there may have been really good works that don't go on. My job as a teacher is to let students know who don't go on that their work is still great.”

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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