Pottsville art students stamp status as winners

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published May 19, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 17, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.
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Patricia Gregory

Several Pottsville students placed in the Arkansas Junior Duck Stamp competition. From the left are Fayth Braton, third place; Trey Bryant, third place; Sloan Aulgur, first place; Grace McCurrie, Best of Show for Arkansas; Jasmine Long, honorable mention; Ethan Hesselbein, honorable mention; and Kaylee Parker, honorable mention.

Male ducks — otherwise known as drakes — have eye-catching plumage in an array of vibrant colors. Apparently, the work of Carrie Drake’s Pre-Advanced Placement art students are just as eye catching. Lately, the students have been making a name for themselves at the state level.

Drake is the art teacher at Pottsville Junior High School.

Her student Grace McCurrie, a ninth-grader, won first place overall at the 2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program in March.

“This was the first year that we officially competed in the duck stamp competition,” Drake said.

This competition gave Drake’s Pre-AP art students a chance to research animals with which they weren’t familiar.

“[The students] had about two weeks to do research of some of the endangered species in Arkansas,” Drake said.

McCurrie said she was excited to win the Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program.

“It was neat seeing all the different types of ducks from Arkansas,” McCurrie said. “We got to learn a lot more about [different species], not just three or four ducks, but a lot more.”

Students could choose from more than 30 species of Arkansas ducks to draw for the duck stamp competition.

Drake’s students are no strangers to competition. They also participate in the Young Arkansas Artists Competition in April.

“We have winners every year,” Drake said.

The Young Arkansas Artists Competition is sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Center, and 18 artworks from schools across the state are chosen.

Works chosen for this competition travel around the state for a year, then are put on display at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Drake said.

Drake said her ninth-graders raised more than $1,000 by donating their artwork to Log-A-Load, and the charity then auctioned off the student artwork.

Log-A-Load is a charity sponsored by the Arkansas Forestry Association that has raised more than $6.35 million for Arkansas Children’s Hospital since the charity’s beginning in 1993, Log-A-Load’s website states.

“I have a really tenderhearted group of ninth-graders this year,” Drake said.

She said the Log-A-Load fundraiser was an idea her students hatched.

Drake said she strives to be the best teacher she can be because of the instruction she received when she was in high school.

“My high school art teacher was a huge inspiration to me,” Drake said. “She let us know that [art] was a way to express yourself, and it’s an outlet.”

Sloane Aulgur, another ninth-grader in Drake’s Pre-AP art class, said Drake serves as an inspiration to her class.

“She’s very encouraging,” Aulgur said. “She’s always very uplifting about our work.”

Drake, who has been the art teacher at Pottsville Junior High for 13 years, said she wants her students to do well in art in the future.

“They have high expectations for themselves,” Drake said. “I always teach them to do their best, but they push each other and encourage each other.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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