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Over a dozen Oxford High students awarded for their artwork

Three Oxford High School students are being recognized on a national level for their art prowess at the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Maggie Sudduth, Emma Teng and Khyan Freelon were all recognized with a Gold Key, were among 13 students honored by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

The trio’s Gold Key means they received national honors, while the students who received Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions are receiving regional honors.

OHS Advanced Art teacher Stephen Strauss said the pride in these awards is shared between him and Ebony and Durant Johnson, who taught art at OHS before Strauss arrived.

“The students that achieved these awards were guided by these professionals,” Strauss told the EAGLE in an email. “The skill level that is presented from these students is a direct representation of the Johnson’s teaching pedagogy. You are seeing the result of years of practice under their guidance.”

Strauss, who taught art in Cleveland and Greenville before coming to Oxford, said the Johnson’s deserve all the credit for the existing art program at OHS. However, he’s taken a person victory in knowing his teaching strategies have been successful.

“I have been critiqued brutally as a professional artist and it has made me a greater painter by far,” Strauss said. “It does hurt and can be overwhelming. However, it sets the expectations so high that you have do to your absolute best to climb higher up.  I take art as serious as a core class teacher takes his or her class and it is my job to communicate that to the school’s atmosphere.”

According to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers website the artwork was judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers have held the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards since 1923, and include artist alumnus such as Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, Cy Twombly and Robert Indiana.

“They have done phenomenal work,” Strauss said. “They are the reason this school is publicized so greatly to the community and why these students have reached a tremendous milestone.”

Oxford High School Recognized Winners

Gold Key: Maggie Sudduth, Emma Teng, Khyan Freelon

Silver Key: Josie Gladden, Eryn Manucy, Khyan Freelon
Hallie Thompson, Carter Crouch

Honorable Mention: Hannah Spillers, Charley Reed
Kathleen Myers, Lily Smith, Khyan Freelon,
Abby Burcham, Emily Hester, Eryn Manucy