Senior’s artistic talent earns national recognition

Hays Teasley, several other students win Scholastic Art awards


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Senior Hays Teasley puts the finishing touches on one of his works of art.

Luke Hern , Reporter

Senior Hays Teasley has been drawing since sixth grade, but you would think a pencil was placed in his hand at birth if you’ve seen his pieces displayed in several locations on campus.

Teasley, along with dozens of other of his fellow students and thousands of other high schoolers from across the region, entered this year’s Scholastic Art & Writing competition. Coming away with many awards and getting a chance to compete nationally, Teasley shared what the competition and art in high school has been like for him.

Teasley’s pieces include great detail and eye-catching scenes and color usage, which he acquires through different media, including his favorites, oil pastel and Prismacolor pencils. “In the past I’ve done a lot of realism, but I want to get away from that now,” Teasley wrote in an email when asked about his preferred technique and themes. It is typical for artists to enter many works, as it is an achievement to win an award for even one of them.

As a senior, Teasley was allowed to combine pieces into a portfolio of common themes and subject matter, but with individual pieces he was able to have “more freedom to enter other pieces that vary,” he said.    

Teasley had a successful go-around last year during the same competition, winning one Gold Key and three Silver Keys. Honorable Mentions are awards typically offered to pieces judged as being in the top 15% of submissions, so to win a Gold Key constitutes an even smaller and prestigious group of art awards. Gold Keys, Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions are all possible awards, and all are celebrated at a regional ceremony, which was virtual last year and will be this year. 

As Teasley said, “This year I won three Gold Keys, which will be judged at a national level. If I do well then I’d be invited to a big ceremony in Carnegie Hall in (New York City) along with other artists.”

But Teasley is not the only student to participate in the competition and come away with an award. 

Senior Tory Basile received an honorable mention for one of her works, and sophomore Grant Betner won the same award for a ceramic work of his. Ms. Joellen Desautels’ photography students brought in heaps of recognition as well, as seniors Brooke Wood and Jessica Quadrini; juniors Cole Brewer, Amelia DeSanto and Maggie Johnson; and sophomores Kiara Taylor, Lucy Clark, Emma Ayres, Catherine Holtrup, Blaire Jones, Abby Nierste, Kristyn Fisher and Leah Craver brought home a slew of awards for their captures ranging from Honorable Mentions to Gold Keys. 

Overall, Cathedral students totaled up in winning 12 Gold Keys, eight Silver Keys, and 20 Honorable Mentions, compiling to an astounding number of 40 awards.

For Teasley, as with every other person dedicated to their craft, every minute he puts in has helped him to get better since he first started back in 2015, and he’s been able to determine what to build and grow on thanks to competitions such as the Scholastics Awards. While Teasley himself is likely to step away from visual arts as a student next year at the renowned Parsons School of Design in New York, he said how he’s glad he’ll be able to naturally pick drawing back up whenever he pleases.

While he and other student artists wait to learn how their pieces perform against others at the regional level, and with a chance to win national awards, Irish students and educators can rest assured that their pieces, creations and photos will continue to impress.