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Coronado’s Artistic Success at Scholastic Awards

Pop+and+Me%2C+by+Honorably+Mentioned+Jessie+Weeks
“Pop and Me,” by Honorably Mentioned Jessie Weeks

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are an annual competition among high school students aspiring to have their art recognized on a national scale. Coronado is fortunate enough to have not one, but two artists attending and placing at the event: Devon Bignell, Class of 2024, who won a gold key for one piece and a silver for another, and Jessie Weeks, Class of 2026, who had a piece honorably mentioned.
Mr. Magnuson, Coronado’s Ceramics and 3D Arts teacher, explains the Art Awards as an opportunity for students to “submit individual pieces or a portfolio, which is about five pieces. There’s no requirements that you have to have, but they do want to see voice and they do want to see skill within their pieces.”
“I think about the Scholastics like a state competition for art,” Mrs. Foos, the AP 2D Art, painting, and drawing teacher at Coronado, clarified.

Life from the Ashes, Devon’s Gold Key ceramics piece.

Art has always been a big part of Devon’s life, having “a big family of artists on all sides… especially my grandmother.” A lot of his art derives from nature-themed inspiration, as seen in his Gold Key-winning piece Life from the Ashes, a collection of Japanese teacups featuring mountains, trees, and other landscape elements captured in ceramics, but that’s not to say that they all are or will be: “Your art style, it’s never really finished, …you never know exactly what it is; it’s always changing and evolving as you grow as an artist.”
The Gold Key is the Scholastic version of a gold medal or first place prize: “The highest honor,” explained Mr. Magnuson.
Devon, also the president of Coronado’s National Honor Society chapter, wishes to continue arts education post-high school, with plans to receive a Fine Arts degree at CSU Fort Collins.

Devon Bignell working on his next piece. (Eisen Toquinto-Dacus)

Jessie received an Honorable Mention for her work, Pops and Me. “I just really liked that picture, and it was like a memory of me and my dad,” Jessie commented when asked about the inspiration behind the piece. The piece being awarded an Honorable Mention allows for Jessie to be recognized nationally. When asked about what she was expecting of the Scholastic Awards Jessie added: “I’m going to see how far this gets on the show, and I think it might be cool to see if it gets anywhere.”
This year, Mr. Magnuson and Mrs. Foos are hopeful about Coronado’s prospects: “We’ve had 20 submissions [for the Awards] this year… some people with good prospects include Kyley Gadway, Class of 2026; Mya Alonso, Class of 2025; and Willow Verbeck, Class of 2025.”
Mr. Magnuson explained how he expects student entries to perform: “I never really know until the year comes… And so usually we try to put in like some of our AP people or advanced classes like our level 3, 4s that we put into those shows. But it kind of depends on what people make at the beginning of the year.”
The newest round of the Art Awards is nearing again, but the deadline for submission passed in December. Pieces submitted will be judged and awarded by mid-February, and hopefully, some Coronado students may be fortunate enough to continue the school’s legacy of accomplished artists and earn recognition through their pieces.

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About the Contributors
Caiden Leyva, Editor-in-Chief
Caiden is a senior at Coronado High School, and this is his second year in Journalism. Previously, he enjoyed writing stories about nationally-focused topics, but is now intending to focus on more community-oriented stories and pieces. Outside of school, Caiden is interested in cooking, baking deserts, brewing elegant coffees, and competitive swim. He is interested in pursuing a degree in either Environmental Design or Urban Planning at whatever school will accept him: "Bike lanes are cool," Caiden says, attempting to be witty.
Eisen is a senior at Coronado that has an interest in all things running. Whether it's distance, sprinting, or even running shoes, he is always willing to keep up with the sport. He is on both the Coronado Cross Country team and Track team. He also runs with the Kokopelli Racing Team, which has given him opportunities to race across the country. After high school, Eisen plans to run for the Metropolitan State University of Denver Cross Country and Track Teams, and major in Sports Science. Outside of running, Eisen has interest in music and art. He is teaching himself to play drums and guitar, and expresses his creativity through his drawings.

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