Senior Wins National Gold Medal in Scholastic Art

March 30, 2021 / News Releases/Upper School/All News

Congratulations to senior Kaylee Ashford, who recently won a national Gold Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition! The Scholastic Art and Writing awards celebrate “superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind…” and are open to students in grades seven through twelve. In January, Kaylee’s sculpture “Hero” (pictured above) earned a Gold Key in the initial, state-level competition. National awards were announced on March 17, with less than 2,000 of the 80,000 contestants receiving medals. Kaylee is one of three students from Mississippi to earn this distinction in this year’s competition.

“I’m really proud of Kaylee for the national recognition of her assemblage sculpture that she created to say thank you to all of the health care workers!” Upper School Art Teacher Susan Ingram said. “To the best of my knowledge, Kaylee is the first JA art student to receive the national recognition of a Gold Medal!” Kaylee began her studies at JA in K4 and has created art for as long as she can remember. 

Where do you find inspiration for your creativity?

Sometimes ideas pop into my head, but at other times I find inspiration in things I see on TV, advertisements, and social media. 

How does it feel to win a national award for your creativity?

It feels really good and cool. 

How was your award-winning sculpture inspired? 

I created my “Hero” sculpture during the middle of the pandemic. Everyone in the medical field was, and is, so important, so I wanted to show my appreciation by creating a sculpture of a nurse. 

How did you create it? 

I painted everything on the styrofoam, then added the hair and clothes, and finished with the details like the gloves and eyelashes. 

What tools and media did you use? 

I used styrofoam for the head, yarn, paint, and other items I had lying around. 

What were the most challenging parts of the process?

Definitely separating every piece of yarn into the different pieces for the hair!

Have you ever walked away from creating art for a time?

Yes, I think with anything you do, you can get frustrated and want to walk away from it, but it feels good to try again and even have different ideas when you come back. 

Why do you come back and continue to create? 

I love creating; it makes me happy. I like that you can create anything, and anything you create is considered art. 

How has JA been a part of your process as you matured in artmaking? 

All of my art teachers have been so amazing and have pushed me to be creative, do my best, and have supported me in everything I’ve done. 

What do you do outside of school? 

I work in the preschool, am a Girl Scout, and I love being with family and friends.

In the fall, Kaylee plans to attend the University of Mississippi and is interested in studying design.