Amanda De Moraes Malden High School glows with pride whenever one of its own students wins a prestigious award. This year, MHS is proud to say that not one, but two students have been recognized by the Boston Globe in their Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Juniors Crystal Araiza and Annabelle Ramos were both awarded; Araiza won both a Gold Key and Silver Key and Ramos won two honorable mentions. The Boston Globe Scholastic Art and Writing is a contest held throughout the country for students interested in one or more of the 28 categories. This includes architecture, comic art, fashion, jewelery, sculpture, video games for the art awards, along with journalism, humor, poetry, dramatic script, and persuasive writing for the writing awards, just to name a few. Massachusetts has participated in the Art Awards for 62 years and three years in the Writing Awards. Artwork may be submitted by all Massachusetts teachers, teaching at least one of the art or writing categories, as long as the work was created by a student in grades seven through 12. Those who were awarded Gold Keys will have their work sent to New York City in April to be considered for national-level recognition. Araiza’s former art teacher, Alicia Fine, said that she submitted Araiza’s work because she thought it had a “strong concept.”  According to her, contest judges are interested in seeing “how students think,” as opposed to only paying attention to their skill.  She believes that although Araiza has always had “good technical skill,” she began to think about the message that her artwork transmitted to others. For the contest, Fine claims that most students took a “linear path,” but Araiza really “thought outside the box.” Fine explained that a lot of thought went into creating Araiza’s artwork and in her opinion it is “really insightful.” Araiza is a well known artist throughout the school and had her two pieces of her artwork submitted by Fine. One piece was titled “Food for Thought,” which Araiza won a Gold Key for, and the other piece was titled “Self Portrait”, which won a Silver Key. Araiza is “thankful [Fine] took time out of her schedule to put [her] pieces in.” Araiza stated Fine “taught [her] a lot... not only did she teach [Araiza] proper execution but she reiterated...the importance of having a good concept behind [one’s] art.” Araiza said that although she is “clueless about [her] future,” she is “considering something with art and advertising.” As someone who has loved art since she was young, being awarded for her art made Araiza extremely proud. Former Golden Key winner and sophomore Tracy Tran was entered in the contest by  MHS Art teacher Julie Mullane as a freshman. Tran said that she was “super proud” and at the same time surprised. She also commented that she was nervous and did not think she would win because there were a lot of artists who were “much more experienced.” Tran shyly stated she learned that she was a “better artist than she thought” after winning. She said that she likes art for many reasons, but admits with a laugh, that it is mostly because she “[does] not have to think” and that it comes naturally to her. In the future, Tran hopes to continue creating art, but as a hobby, not a profession. The Massachusetts State Transportation Building will display artwork that received either a Gold and Silver Key until April 20, 2012. Art is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends.

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