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Holliston High Student Wins National Scholastic Art Award

by Grace Ballenger

Junior Samantha Tate earned the National Scholastic Art award for illustration for her work entitled Typewriter, and was awarded the prize at a prestigious reception in New York City.

Samantha completed the piece, which she constructed from newspaper, cardboard and paint, as an assignment for an art class her sophomore year. Drawn to the detail of the typewriter, she paid similar attention to every aspect of the piece, including an effort to make the phrases on the newspaper that she used correspond with the things she loves.

“These are such simple materials for such a complicated application. I knew instantly that the piece was special and that it could garner an award,” said Doug Lack, Samantha’s art teacher at Holliston High School.

Samantha submitted the piece at the beginning of her junior year along with other works of art that she had completed. One of her other paintings The Heaven The Hell, also earned an award at the state level.

“I was really surprised when I got the state level Gold Key awards, but it took me a really long time to wrap my head around the idea of the national award,” Samantha said, to describe her reaction to winning.

The trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City to receive the award was also a special experience for her.

“It was pretty big. I’ve been to New York before, but for this it was exciting and a little intimidating,” Samantha explained, “I was definitely blown away by the other pieces. On the car ride home I was inspired to do art.”

The achievement marks the culmination of an interest in art that began before preschool, according to Samantha.

“For the first six years of my life I thought everybody did art. It wasn’t till fourth grade that I realized I had a passion for it and a talent.” Samantha said to describe the beginning of her artistic journey, “I kind of accepted it as a lifestyle since everybody in my family does it”  

Lack agrees that his student’s artistic ability manifests itself in many ways.   

 “As an artist Sammy is prolific. She seems to be constantly in a creative mode. She exudes artistic expression. Whether it be the clothes she wears, the creations that she makes, or how she presents herself in conversation,” he said.

For this young artist, receiving this national award served as a validation of her artistic talent.

“I’ve known according to my grades [in art classes] that I have talent, but this was the first time I’ve ever been recognized nationally or compared to the nation.” Samantha said.

While her teacher recognizes the sense of validation that the award provides to his student, he also realizes that artistic creation itself is validation for her.    

“It means that others have taken note of her diligence and her creativity. She is certainly happy about the award, however she makes the work for herself, and not the accolades,” Lack said.

For Samantha’s mother, Michelle Tate, experiencing the ceremony was an important way to recognize and celebrate artistic talent.

“I was really awed at what a big deal it was. These awards are like the sports awards, and art students never get the accolades that sports stars do. I am so glad that they have that.” Michelle said.

The program featured famous speakers such as the poet Vijay Seshadri, sculptor Donald Lipski, Matthew Morrison, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chelsea Clinton.

“The way they spoke to the kids and the way they spoke about the kids you could tell they were humbled and in awe of them,” Michelle said.

As for Samantha, she envisions a future for herself that is filled with art.

“Other than going to art college,” she started, casually, as if this were a given, “I want to keep pursuing every part of art,” Samantha stated. 

Comments (6)

Congratulations Sammy, Nice article Grace. StMichaels can boast of two over achieves in our midst!

Pat Duffet | 2015-07-29 13:00:16

What an achievement! Congratulations to you!! Do you have a showing??

Marion cronin | 2015-07-28 12:48:55

Congrats, Sami, and thanks to the Holliston Reporter for recognizing this achievement.

Leslie Dooley | 2015-07-27 17:26:41

You are very talented. Congratulations and I look forward to seeing more great work from you.

Cherry Fenton | 2015-07-27 09:43:12

Congratulations, Sammy!! Great achievement.

Lou, Kathy and Daisy | 2015-07-27 06:56:38

Congratulations Sammy! You have fantastic parents who always supported your love of the creative process! I have warm memories of you and your Mom always working on some sort of project. I'm so very happy for you all!

Corinne Kelleher | 2015-07-27 06:21:25