Students Win Gold. Silver Keys for Art Work and Photography

Senior+Olga+Zhigunova+poses+in+front+of+a+collection+of+her+artwork.Zhigunova+was+awarded+with+a+Scholastic+Art+%26+Writing+Gold+Key.+--Mercy+Fosah

Senior Olga Zhigunova poses in front of a collection of her artwork.Zhigunova was awarded with a Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key. –Mercy Fosah

Senior Olga Zhigunova poses in front of a collection of her artwork.Zhigunova was awarded with a Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key. --Mercy Fosah
Senior Olga Zhigunova poses in front of a collection of her artwork. Zhigunova was awarded with a Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key. –Mercy Fosah

Andy Warhol, Lena Dunham, Truman Capote — these famous figures have one thing in common: winning a Scholastic Art & Writing Award. This year, seniors Abby Noll, Olga Zhigunova and Kaylee Davis, in addition to freshman Camila Pereira, will be added to the list of famous award alumni.

Zhigunova and Davis were recognized with a Gold Key, which is the highest award at the regional level. Noll was awarded two Silver Keys in painting and fashion; Pereira had an Honorable Mention in drawing.

Art teacher Connie Zammett began encouraging her students to enter this contest after alumnus Robby DeYoung won a silver medal at the national level last year. This year, Zammett had her intermediate and advanced art students enter the contest as an assignment.

Zhigunova, who won her Gold Key in painting, took IB Visual Art SL as a junior and is now in AP Studio Art and Drawing.

“It’s pretty great to see how much she has improved over the past two years,” Zammett said. “Art is just like any sport a�� the more exercise you do, the more push-ups, the stronger your “muscles’ become, and the better your artwork becomes.”

Davis won her Gold Key in photography. She got into photography after taking digital photography at RHS. A year later, she got her first professional camera. Davis’ winning photograph was part of her AP 2D Studio Art Portfolio, which is centered on hands.

“I was racking my brain trying to find a creative idea to express hands when [senior Vicky Ganev] saw the fence I have on the side of my house,” Davis said. “I took several photos of Vicky’s hands sticking out in places in the fence and then I went into Photoshop and merged all the photos together.”

For Zammett, making her students enter the contest pays off. “I see how much the students benefit from it in terms of recognition on their college resumes and potential scholarships that they win,” Zammett said. “Even just the confidence that they gain from winning awards – that makes me think that the extra work a�� is really worth it.”

Peireira, a freshman, was awarded an Honorable Mention, which Zammett hopes will boost her confidence in her work. Winning has profound effects on older and younger entrants alike.

“I was so excited and really glad that I was able to prove to myself that I could win an art award and help gain recognition for the art program at Rockville,” Zhigunova said. “Without the art program, I definitely wouldn’t be nearly as good at art as I am today.”

The works of RHSa�� winners were on display at the school’s annual art show April 29.

To aspiring student artists, Zhigunova had one piece of advice. “It’s definitely important to stick with art, even after you make a bad piece or mess up a project,” she said. “It takes time, but you definitely learn from the mistakes you make.”