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Vibrant student artwork on display

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As Hernando students return to school, many bring with them precious memories of a joyous and accomplished summer; especially if that season featured the winning of a major award. At the 22nd Annual Art Recognition Night, May 18 at Central High School, the top student artists in the area were honored for their creative excellence. And now, the winners and their beautiful creative artworks are getting their time in the spotlight.

“The Annual Gallery Night is one of the ways we are able to highlight the artistic ability in students at all grade levels. Art teachers draw out young artists and they are instrumental in fostering a lifelong love for art,” said Hernando County Schools District spokesperson, Karen Jordan.

Superintendent John Stratton presented the student recognition and Top Artist

Awards. Asst. Supt. Gina Michalicka delivered a welcome and closing remarks. Santiago Pinkney of Powell Middle School performed the National Anthem. Guests browsed a colorful gallery brimming with tropical images, portraits, patterned designs, floral illustrations, and more.

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Elementary Top Artist Awards:

  • Kindergarten – 2nd grade: Isguel Rosa from Moton Elementary
  • 3rd – 5th grade: Kelsey Gannon from Brooksville Elementary

Middle School Top Artist Awards:

  • Visual Arts: Emily Diaz from Challenger K-8
  • Digital Arts: Jayden Vitale from West Hernando Middle School

High School Top Artist Awards:

  • Visual Arts: Andryana Marulando from Central High School
  • Digital Arts: nHeidi Urban from Springstead High School

Among the pieces presented was “Head In The Clouds” which is a dazzling work of digital art created by Jayden Vitale from West Hernando Middle School. “What inspired me was, we had a project where we got a phrase to create a theme.  My phrase was ‘head in the clouds.’ My interpretation for this piece is that when our bodies are stubborn and don’t want to move our minds stay free-flowing. It also represents freedom,” Jayden explained. This young artist has found the ideal media in the realm of digital art. “I had art in elementary, but I wasn’t that great. When I started digital arts in 6th grade, that’s when I found my stride and I kept getting better over the three years. I like that you can create anything that comes to your mind.  The medium of my piece is digital using Photoshop,” said Jayden.

As students return to school and art class this semester, we all look forward to seeing the vibrant student artworks lining the hallways and classrooms of Hernando school; and eventually, in the honorary gallery.


Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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