Pelham artists are champions, too

Published 4:36 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In February, Pelham High School students participated in state championship competitions whose results won’t be on the sports pages. As proud as we are of our athletic teams, we also celebrate our artists’ victories.

Theater students, along with teacher Jamie Stephenson traveled to the State Thespians Convention in Florence. Stephenson’s students performed impressively. Lauren Hendon received a $1,000 college scholarship. Mathew Tkacik won first place for his set design, and Tanner Smith won third place for his solo male acting performance.

Choir teacher Lynne Jebeles took her students to District Evaluation. Chamber choir received the highest score attainable. PHS Singers and women’s choirs received superior ratings, and the men’s choir earned an excellent rating.

Literary Magazine Staffers traveled to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Scholastic Press Association State Convention, excited to see how they would fare in state competition. Judging is based on the last published magazine that went to press in May of 2009. The magazine came away with the coveted All Alabama award, which is reserved for the best magazines in the state.

Pelham students captured 18 individual awards for work published in the PHS Literary Magazine. Art teacher Kim Harrison’s students swept the art and photography awards with 2009 grads Shelby Wesson and Emily Sarvis-Hill capturing both first and second place respectively for art portfolio for their collected artwork. PHS 2009 grad Viktor Swan’s “River Painting,” captured first place for individual artwork published in the state.

Senior Photographer Taylor Mathews took first in photography portfolio in the state while 2009 grad Sydney Earnest took second place. Mathews and Earnest also captured several other photo awards. Designers Emily Sarvis-Hill, Ashley Peel and Emily Lewis won awards for their impressive magazine layouts.

Writer Casey Nichols placed first in state with her short fiction, “The River.” Senior Poet Hannah Downs captured second for her poem “Jewels,” which opens the magazine; PHS Sophomore Sarah Bullion took an unprecedented first in state for her essay, “His Last Day,” that she wrote as a freshman in Rebecca Burnett’s class.

In March, junior writers Casey Nichols and Austin Hancock travel to Montgomery to receive their state Literary Arts Awards for poems they submitted in January. As winter turns into spring, the 2010 Literary Magazine Staff works towards publication of the 2010 magazine, stretching to reach the standard of excellence set for them. They’re ready for the challenge.

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at