South Tahoe High School Art Teacher Candi Lincoln and her students are used to winning. The class boasts awards from countless state and national competitions - including top honors from Nikon and Congress - and students have earned scholarships that have allowed them to strive beyond the South Shore.
What's the secret to the success? Lots of passion and a network of support, according to Lincoln.
"I have incredible support from Ivone Larson, the principal, Bob Grant, the department chair, and Dr. Tarwater. They all support the arts, and that's so important ... I consider my kids' stuff professional because they put their heart into it and it shows," Lincoln said.
The art class started slaying competitions five years ago when Lincoln arrived at STHS. The art teacher wanted her students to get a glimpse of the world beyond South Lake Tahoe and national competitions promised to help broaden the teens' perspective.
"We're in a really isolated area here as far as the students seeing themselves on the world stage. I'm not encouraging them to move there, but I want them to see that they're just as good as anyone else," Lincoln said.
The students have won or placed in almost every competition they've entered, Lincoln said. Sandy Robles, Julia Schmidseder and Colton McHugh are among 100 finalists in the international College and High School Photography Contest sponsored by Nikon and could each win $2,000 next month.
Two other students reached the final round of the 2013 Strive2Free Art Contest, which engages youth in the fight against human trafficking, and Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, Calif. purchased 10th-grader Austin Allen's photograph "Hope Valley" as part of a contest that included professional artists from throughout California. STHS was the only school to enter.
But the award that stands out most in Lincoln's mind is the Congressional Art Competition sponsored by the Congressional Institute. Winners of the prize get the chance to display their artwork in Congress for a year, fly out to Washington D.C. with a family member and get a tour of the Capitol. STHS students have taken first place every year for the past four years.
"It's changed the lives of everyone who's won that one. The students were thinking of studying locally, but all of those winners have gotten scholarships that put them in college right away," Lincoln said.
The class entered the Lake Tahoe Community College regional high school competition this year. It's the first local event the group has competed in and though most of the top pieces were already entered elsewhere, STHS students still came home with a third-place and an honorable mention.
LTCC Art Department Chairwoman Phyllis Shafer partnered with Paul and Judy Bruso of Ernie's Coffee Shop to bring back the student showcase gallery for the first time in five years. There are 135 pieces from students in South Lake Tahoe, the North Shore and Truckee on display in the Commons and along the hall toward the student center.
"To put money behind it and display their art in a professional way demonstrates that art matters. Hopefully it sets students on the path toward those career goals," Shafer said.
In other news:
STHS invites parents to Spring Term Welcome
South Tahoe High School parents are invited to the Spring Term Welcome Thursday from 5 to 7:15 p.m at the new STHS student union. Parents can meet their students' teachers, review course descriptions and objectives, homework requirements and grading procedures.
LTCC offers math workshop
Lake Tahoe Community College's CONNECT Community Education program will offer a monthly math workshop for children 6 to 12 years old. The deadline to register is Feb. 4 at 12 p.m. For more information and to register for the program, visit http://tinyurl.com/bxqfv2m.
Sugarloaf fine arts program seeks campers
Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp will take online applications from Feb. 4-18. The camp, which offers weeklong sessions for El Dorado County students, takes place in Sly Park Environmental Education Center in Pollock Pines. For information, visit www.sugarloafcamp.com.
Women's power drumming workshop to be held
The deadline to register for a young women's power drumming four-week workshop series is Feb. 22. The program is for young women 9 to 18 years old who want to learn the basics of rhythm and drumming with a variety of multi-cultural drums. For more information and to register, visit http://tinyurl.com/ayhons4.
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