H-F student-artists earn state awards


At the beginning of February, Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School was one of 13 area high schools that participated in the Southwest Suburban Conference Visual Arts Festival & Competition, held at Governors State University in University Park on Friday, Feb. 2. Students had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers, participate in workshops and judge fellow student artwork. Out of five presented awards selected from more than 100 entered works, H-F students earned three:



  • Junior Lauryn Castagna - Best Overall 2D Award (Stop, Drop & Roll - quilled paper self-portrait)


  • Senior Alix Lowry - Student Choice 3D (lighted box sculpture)


  • Senior Vlad Martinez - Cover Design Award (graphic design)


In addition, senior Ruth McManus earned the Best of School for Homewood-Flossmoor for her portrait on paper bag (Crystal). Other exhibiting Homewood-Flossmoor students were sophomore Libby Bransky; juniors Caroline Koranda, Jeremy Libretti-River and Audrey McKillip; and seniors Robert Lee, Nathan Oh and Andrea Zambrano.

At the end of the month, Homewood-Flossmoor’s student-artists competed at the Illinois High School Art Exhibition (IHSAE), held Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. At this event, high schools from across Illinois were invited to enter artwork in up to six categories, and compete for awards in pottery, time arts, sculpture, design, drawing, painting, photography and mixed media. Three honorable mentions, bronze, silver, gold and best-in-show awards were presented in each category. According to Jaclyn Wargo, H-F’s Fine Arts department chair, Homewood-Flossmoor’s student-artists won four of the 63 total awards at this event, where more than 100 high schools participated and where a grand total of 568 artworks were on display. Earning awards from Homewood-Flossmoor were:


  • Senior Amya Jaimes - Best in Show: Drawing (Mindfulness) — out of 108 entries


  • Senior Emma Novak - Silver Mixed Media (Mandrill) — out of 77 entries


  • Senior Taylor Ausley - Silver Painting (Far from Home) — out of 95 entries


  • Junior Emma McKillip - Bronze Photography (Editorial Artifact) — out of 93 entries)



In addition, junior Caroline Larocca was offered an early college program offer from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design for her design (Float). Additional H-F participants were seniors Alden DeRose, Ryan Hutchinson and Ronnie Simon in the time arts category.

“We are very proud of our students' achievements in the arts and are excited to see what the future holds for these hard-working young artists,” says Wargo.

The IHSAE was held simultaneously with the organization’s Senior Scholarship Exhibition, a program that has facilitated $80 million cumulatively for more than 900 students since its first event in 2014. Three H-F senior student-artists presented this year — along with 371 other high school seniors — and all three were offered multiple college scholarships at a total award value of $484,000. They are:


  • Taylor Ausley, who presented Our Foundations (painting on glass), and was offered a $84,000 Presidential Scholarship and a $64,000 Admissions Scholarship from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design; and a $52,000 IHSAE Art Academy Platinum Scholarship Award from the Art Academy of Cincinnati.


  • Ruth McManus, who presented Crystal (painting on paper bag), and was offered a $64,000 Admissions Scholarship from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design; a $52,000 IHSAE Art Academy Platinum Scholarship Award from the Art Academy of Cincinnati; and a $11,200 IHSAE Outreach Scholarship from the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design.


  • Andrea Zambrano, who presented Virus (mixed media), and was offered a $72,000 Dean Recognition Scholarship from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design; a $52,000 IHSAE Art Academy Platinum Scholarship Award from the Art Academy of Cincinnati; a $22,000 NHIA Merit Scholarship from the New Hampshire Institute of Art; and a $11,200 IHSAE Outreach Scholarship from the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design.

“I wish to extend a well-deserved congratulations to our talented art students,” says Dr. Jerry Lee Anderson, principal. “It is great to see them recognized with all of these awards and scholarships. I am so glad to be in a school community that appreciates and supports the arts.”

As these senior art-students move on to their colleges of choice, underclassmen at Homewood-Flossmoor are in the process of applying for the school’s new Media, Visual & Performing Arts Academy (MVP) — a two-year program where students have the opportunity to develop their talent in an art-focused field — and as the school itself readies for an expansion of its Fine Arts classrooms and facilities, set to begin next school year.

Homewood-Flossmoor has a history of accomplishments in the arts — both by its students and teachers. H-F students have earned awards at every IHSAE annual event since its beginnings in 2014.  The school received the Best School Art Program in the state award in 2013 from the Illinois Art Education Association. A few years earlier in 2011, the IAEA named Greg Petecki, an H-F Fine Arts teacher, the Secondary Art Educator of the Year.

“Homewood-Flossmoor’s Fine Arts students continue to gain outstanding recognition competing at the highest level with high school students from across the state of Illinois,” says Dr. Von Mansfield, superintendent. “Our aspiring young artists continue to rank among the very best, earning exceptional marks in almost every category of competition. The incredible artistic abilities of H-F art students showcased throughout the years, remains a testimony to our exceptional Fine Arts program and our distinguished teaching staff.”

The IHSAE display will run through Friday, March 9, at the Zhou B Art Center and Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago. For more information, please visit www.ihsae.org or www.zhoubartcenter.com. For more information on Homewood-Flossmoor’s