Students shine in Scholastic Art Awards regional competition


Dozens of public school students' art works, from painting to photography to mixed media, meet criteria for prestigious Scholastic Art Awards national review. Works will be exhibited at the Hawaii State Art Museum Feb. 20 through April 10.

​​​​More than 140 Hawaii public school students were recognized for exceptional work in the regional Scholastic Art Awards program, with more than 70 works earning the prestigious Gold Key designation. (Gold Key works will be evaluated for the program's National Exhibition — see the complete list of Regional Gold Key winners from across the nation here, and Hawaii's public school winners here.)

The regional winners will be exhibited at the Hawaii State Art Museum Feb. 20-April 10. A ceremony honoring their work will be held Saturday, Feb. 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the museum.

Among Hawaii's Gold Key works, two are American Visions Nominees — constituting the judges' choice for the best work of the year's entries, shown here. Congratulations to Ethan Chee, grade 8, of Aliamanu Middle for his drawing, "Stack," and Joanna Largosa, grade 11, of Leilehua High for her photo, "Hawaiian Afternoon."

In applying for the competition, students can submit works in 15 categories of art media, including architecture, fashion, drawing and illustration, photography, ceramics & glass, comic art, painting, mixed media, sculpture and more.

Aliamanu Middle art teacher Ted Uratani said selecting which to pursue is a process. "My students are encouraged to try a number of media and concepts. Like finding out if the focus is right. If not, we move on to another one."

Uratani's own arts education started at the DOE, with art teacher Minnie Fujita at McKinley High School. "She demanded high standards and would never say out front she 'liked' anything," he said. "I blame her for all the hard work involved in being an art teacher."

And Ethan's reaction? "He smiled... like the 'mouse that roared.' Just cool."

'Stack' - Ethan Chee, Aliamanu Middle

'Hawaiian Afternoon' - Joanna Largosa, Leilehua High

Joanna's teacher, Keith Sasada, has watched many students find their passion in his photography class, and pursue it in college and careers over the 20 years he's been teaching at Leilehua​.

"The Scholastic competition is very meaningful for my students. It gives them a chance to compete and something to work towards. When they win, I see the shy student gain confidence in themselves and become outgoing. They come out of their shell," Sasada said.

The competition gives students a better appreciation of what elevates artistic work, he added, which has real-world applications. "Photography is not just a pretty sunset. Anyone can get lucky and can take a great picture (even a gorilla), but would you hire a gorilla to photograph your wedding? I teach them to think and apply the elements and principles of design, composition, lighting, and symbolism."

About the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the longest running, largest and most prestigious student recognition program in the United States. Each year over 250,000 entries are submitted across the country through their regional affiliate. This is the 52nd year that Hawaii is taking part in this Award competition. The work selected for this year’s exhibition showcases the best of over 1,000 local submissions.

There are three main categories of the awards, Gold Key, Silver Key and American Visions. The work of all Gold Key nominees selected this year will be submitted for judging on the national level. If selected, the work will be sent to New York to be exhibited for year in the National Exhibition.

American Vision Nominees constitute the judges choice for the best work of this year’s entries. Judging is based on craftsmanship, use of media and creativity. Students also qualify for recognition for their contribution to the local exhibit with silver key recognition certificate. All recipients will be honored with a certificate and pin signifying the type of nomination they are awarded.

The Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts is the primary sponsor of the Hawaii regional competition, awards ceremony and exhibition.

​​​Exhibit: Scholastic Art Awards, Hawaii r​egional winners

Hawaii State Art Museum

  • Exhibit: Feb. 20 - April 10
  • Ceremony: Feb. 21, 4-6 p.m.

Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3232



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