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Students star in Western art shows

Students star in Western art shows
Displaying smiles almost as big as the Lone Star state, La Vernia High School students show off their place ribbons during the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s Western Art Show in January. Celebrating their success are (from left) Reagan Roswell, Haley Bruner, Grand Champion Natalie Baker, art teacher Jenean Mills, Morgan Mills, Amy Gastauer, and Shaley Trammell.

The La Vernia High School art program is producing some inspired and inspiring artists. That they happen to be award-winning is also commendable.

Six students placed in the top 25 of the 2012 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Western Art Show in January, and five placed in the Rodeo Austin Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo’s Youth Western Art Show in March.

Natalie Baker, a senior, earned the grand champion title in San Antonio with her painting, “God Bless Them, There Cowgirls.” Also placing in the San Antonio show were junior Morgan Mills; senior Haley Bruner; sophomore Reagan Roswell; senior Amy Gastauer; and sophomore Shaley Trammell. Collectively, their award-winning artworks sold for close to $90,000. The money goes toward scholarships for further education for the winners.

In the Star of Texas show, Morgan Mills’ entry captured the grand champion slot. Lauren Rechy, a junior, earned fifth place. Also placing in the top 20 were sophomore Amber Duelm, Amy Gastauer, and junior Brianna Kruciak. In the auction, their entries earned more than $4,500.

Art teacher Jenean Mills is proud of her students’ achievements.

“My students have had a really good year overall,” she said. “...Art is very personal and the most important success is whether the students felt that they improved or they produced artwork they are proud of. Winning scholarship money or awards never hurts to ensure this feeling of success, but ultimately, I want the students to feel proud of their work without external rewards.”

Natalie, the daughter of Joey and Cheryl Baker, considers art a great outlet “for me to get away from stress,” she said. Although she enjoys art, her passion is track and field, “and being able to wake up each Sunday morning and go to church.”

Morgan Mills loves “to paint pictures that look just like the person I painted,” she said. Golf and art are her passions, and she plans to major in math education and minor in art in college. She is the daughter of Glenn and Jenean Mills.

Haley Bruner’s passion is running. Of her art, she said, “I like being able to be creative and experimenting with the different media.” She finds inspiration in her family, and parents Billy Bob and Lisa Bruner. She plans to study to become a physical therapist.

“Looking at ordinary things in a new way,” is one thing Reagan Roswell enjoys about art. The daughter of Rick and Georganna Roswell hopes to attend the University of Texas at Austin.

Art allows Amy Gastauer “to express my feelings in a creative way and gives me a constructive hobby,” she said. Her parents are Terry and Catherine Gastauer. In addition to art, she loves running track. She plans to pursue a career as an actuary after studying at Texas Lutheran University.

“My greatest passion in life is running and spending time with family and friends from church and school,” Shaley Trammell said. She likes “that there is no right or wrong way to create an art piece.” The daughter of Leonard and Monelle Trammell, is 15, and is still forming her future plans.

A career as a pediatrician is what Amber Duelm plans to pursue after high school. She enjoys playing volleyball and creating art, which allows her to “be constructive when I’m bored, frustrated, or inspired,” she said. She is the daughter of Scott and Lisa Duelm.

Lauren Rechy may study physical therapy and minor in art after high school. The daughter of Edward and Nancy Rechy finds inspiration for her art in “nature and the people I care about most in my life,” she said. “I enjoy being able to express myself in creative ways.”

Brianna Kruciak’s art allows her to show her personality and who she is, she said. She hopes to study interior design after high school. The daughter of Ray and Kathy Kruciak, she said her passion in life is ’to live life the way God would want us to and celebrate each and every day. She likes being able to express herself in art “without using words.”

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