JACKSON TWP.  Jackson Memorial Middle School eighth grade visual arts teacher Brian Poetter said this year’s Central Ohio Scholastic’s Art and Writing Competition winners and participants “had a lot of talent and the students feed off each other and weren’t afraid to take risks with their artworks.”

He believes that is one reason why the advance art students won seven Gold Keys (top award) and nine Silver Keys (second top award) at this year’s competition. There were also more than a dozen student artists who earned honorable mention.

Jackson Local Schools has been sending artists to the Scholastic competition for at least 10 years. Poetter has been sending a group of eighth graders for the past five years.

“This has been a great year for us. My students expanded their skills by working with different mediums this year. Our star students like Mackenzie Czekansky who earned four Gold Keys helped boost our numbers,” Poetter said.

He also said that he has attended the competition over the years to learn what catches the attention of the judges and has built that into his instruction to help improve the creative side of his students.

“I’ve watched the different mediums that have won over the years and then encouraged my students to work in those mediums. We do have a lot of gifted kids this year. All of the art teachers at Jackson encourage their art students to push themselves and try to create in the different mediums,” Poetter said.

The next step in the competition is for the Gold Key students to compete on the national level. Poetter said they should know sometime early March whether any of his students won nationally and will have their artworks displayed in New York City.

Poetter also gave credit to the seventh-grade art teacher for working so hard and preparing his students to come to the eighth-grade advanced art classes.

“Really all of the credit goes to the students because they worked so hard. The group got along well this year and were always up to meeting the next challenge. We enter this competition every year and the support we get from the district, the parents and the community is what helps us make this happen. This is like Super Bowl weekend for the art students,” Poetter said.

About the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The awards recognize student achievement in visual and literary arts in 29 categories, including editorial cartoon, poetry, graphic design, fashion, science fiction, video game design and more.

Since 1923, the Awards have recognized and encouraged millions of students, including Truman Capote, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol and John Updike, who won when they were teens.  In more recent years, famous names such as Stephen King, Myla Goldberg, Zac Posen, Lena Dunham and Richard Linklater have become alumni of the program.

The Awards offer opportunities for creative teens to earn recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships. An Award signifies to parents, teachers, the community and colleges that a student is an accomplished artist or writer.

Through the Scholarship Provider Network, $10 million in scholarships are set aside specifically for Scholastic Award–winning high school seniors to apply for at more than 60 colleges and universities who have partnered with the Alliance.

Nearly 70,000 teen artists and writers are recognized in their regions each year. More than 1 million original works have been submitted and over $40 million has been made available in scholarships and awards to top winning students over the past five years alone. Works are judged on originality, technical skill, and emergence of personal vision or voice.

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the national nonprofit organization, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and are made possible through the generosity of Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., The New York Times, New York Life Foundation, The Herb Block Foundation, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, Golden Artist Colors, Bloomberg Philanthropies, ESA Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Circle, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Amazon Literary Partnerships, and numerous other individual, foundations, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Poetry Foundation.