Arts & Literature

The creativity of Hillgrove High School’s visual and performing art students will be on display during Performing for the Dream—An Evening of Fine Arts next Tuesday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m. Cobb County School District supervisor for instrumental music and  former HHS band director Chris Ferrell will serve as emcee for the fine arts expo, which will include an art show, silent auction and performances by the Hillgrove drama troupe, chorus, orchestra and band.

Tickets are $5.00 at the door and benefit The Hillgrove Foundation, a philanthropic 501(c)(3) organization that works to support Hillgrove High School in the areas of academics, athletics and the fine arts.


Belmont Hills Elementary in Smyrna held ‘An Evening of the Arts’ Tuesday, March 25 for a showcase of students’ creative work. Second and third graders performed a musical, fourth and fifth graders demonstrated a dance routine and visual art by students in all grade levels was on display throughout the hallways. The school integrated technology into the event by including QR codes on each piece of artwork, which parents could scan with their mobile devices to learn about how that art was created.

Belmont Hills is celebrating its 60th anniversary during the 2013-2014 school year.

Four Cobb County high school student artists received prestigious Regional Gold Keys in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a nationwide creative competition for students in grades 7 through 12.

Christina Voss of Walton High won a Gold Key in Painting. For the Mixed Media category, Raven-Iman Jones of Kell High received the honor; and Grace Liu of Pope High earned a Gold Key for Drawing. Sally Cho, also of Walton High, won five Gold Keys in the Painting, Mixed Media, and Drawing categories. Her painting “The Day When The Roses Died” earned a Silver Medal at the National level, for which she will travel to New York in June to receive. She is now eligible for a number of exclusive awards and scholarships through Scholastic’s business partners.

These four are among more than 90,000 students who submitted art and writing for the 28 categories in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Entries were judged by industry leaders and the best are currently on display in a traveling exhibit called ART.WRITE.NOW.

Since the program’s inception, The Awards have encouraged more than 13 million students, recognized over nine million young artists and writers, and made available $25 million in awards and scholarships. Prominent past winners of Scholastic Awards include writer Truman Capote (1932), photographer Richard Avedon (1941), artist Andy Warhol (ca. 1945), writer Sylvia Plath (1947), actor Robert Redford (1954) and fashion designer Zac Posen (1998).

Each of these student artists have been encouraged and inspired by their art instructors. Walton’s artists are advised by teacher Kathleen Petka; Laura Laquaglia helms the art program at Kell High School and Joy Johnson is art instructor at Pope High.

Farina_photoA spectacular photograph from atop a roller coaster captured by Kell High School eleventh grader Meredith Farina placed as a finalist in the annual photography contest conducted by Nikon and Photographer’s Forum magazine. Meredith’s image will be published in the hardcover compilation, The Best of College & High School Photography 2014.

Farina plans to major in photography after she graduates from Kell. In the meanwhile, she plans to take 2D Design during her senior year and to continue improving her skills by shooting wedding and portrait photography.

Submitted by Laura LaQuaglia, art teacher, Kell High School


The Daniell Middle School choirs took their show on the road throughout February, with high profile performances at Philips Arena in Atlanta and at Kennesaw State University. Forty-five Daniell seventh and eighth graders sang the National Anthem before the Atlanta Hawks game vs. Indiana Pacers basketball game Feb. 4.  In addition to singing for the NBA game audience, 50 Daniell sixth grade chorus members took their turn singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a Kennesaw State University women’s basketball game.


The Concert Hall at Lassiter High School will host the Purduettes, an all-female choir from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN on Saturday, Mar. 15 at 8 p.m.

Price: Early-Bird Discount $15/adult and $10/youth
After March 8th, prices jump to $25 & $15 respectively
Children under 5 free on lap

Lassiter High School
2601 Shallowford Rd Marietta, GA 30066

Time and Date: Saturday, March 15
7:30pm doors open / 8:00pm concert
9:30pm reception

Purchase tickets on the Purdue Alumni Club of Atlanta website.

MapuaC_ScholarshipCamille Mapua, senior at the Wheeler High School Center for Advanced Studies in Science, Mathematics, and Technology, is one of two recipients of a prestigious scholarship from the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA). Camille is one of just 27 students throughout Georgia to make the All State Chorus for the maximum of six years, qualifying her to apply for the GMEA honor. State choral leaders selected her for one of the scholarships based on her choral performance, a required essay and recommendation from her chorus instructor John Perry.

Perry said, “I am incredibly proud of Camille for this scholarship. She is just an overall fantastic student, completely disciplined and hard working as well as incredibly talented.”

Camille plans to pursue vocal performance and speech pathology in her post-secondary studies.

Artwork by students in the AP Studio Art program at Kell High School will be featured at the 2014 Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday, Feb. 7 at Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta. School namesake Carlton J. “Corky” Kell, former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, former Braves owner Ted Turner, Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winner George Benson, basketball champion Cindy Brogdon and track and field star Antonio McKay are the local legends to be inducted during the 10th anniversary ceremony.

Under the direction of art teacher Laura LaQuaglia, Kell students researched the inductees and created an artwork celebrating the athletic achievements and contributions of each individual. The drawings and paintings were created by AP Studio Art students Ana Carvalho, Jenna Cory, Jackie Ducros, Jacob Fournier, Kahori Guzman, Eva Ponce, and Olivia Wang.

Fox 5 Atlanta featured these outstanding young artists in a segment this week. Watch below:
Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Teams of students from 53 Cobb County schools will face off in a challenge of reading prowess during the seventh annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl next Saturday, Jan. 18 at Awtrey Middle School in Kennesaw. The Reading Bowl is an academic competition in which students from all three academic levels test their knowledge of books from the Georgia Book/Peach Teen lists.

The Cobb County bowl will begin with a parade of schools, followed by six rounds of competition. During each round, two teams compete in a fast-paced, 10 question match, using a quiz show-style system to ‘buzz in’ with the correct answers. Winning teams advance to the regional bowl Feb. 1, heading towards the ultimate challenge of the state final in March at the University of Georgia.

The Reading Bowl was initiated by its namesake Helen Ruffin, a now-retired DeKalb County media specialist, who was looking for a way to motivate the students at her school to read more. When she noticed that the students at her school were extremely enthusiastic about competitive events she decided to capitalize on this energy. Thus the idea for an academic competition was formed.

Cobb schools with teams participating in the 2014 Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl include:


Acworth Kemp Awtrey Campbell
Austell Kincaid Campbell Hillgrove
Big Shanty Lewis Cooper Kennesaw
Birney Mableton Dodgen McEachern
Brumby Mt. Bethel East Cobb North Cobb
Clarkdale Norton Park Griffin Osborne
Davis Riverside Int. Hightower Trail Sprayberry
Dowell Sedalia Park Int’l Acad. of Smyrna South Cobb
Eastvalley Shallowford Falls Lovinggood Walton
Ford Smyrna Lost Mountain
Garrison Mill Still Mabry
Hayes Teasley McCleskey
Hendricks Tritt McClure
Hollydale Pine Mountain
Int’l Acad. of Smyrna Smitha

For more information about the Cobb County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, contact Barbara Powell-Schager at (678) 516-6756.


Art students in teacher Kathleen Petka’s classes at Walton High School were named grand prize winners for grades 9-12 of the national ‘Water Is Life’ mural contest backed by the foundation of famed conservationist artist Wyland. More than 35 Walton artists worked together to design and paint their 50 sq. ft. entry, which depicts various aquatic ecosystems. The contest judges said the following about the winning mural from Walton:

Prismatic effect provides unique view of water based ecosystems. Shows how water supports life in so many ways. The rendering itself was stunning and beautiful. The mural shows tremendous forethought and pre-planning and a clear objective.

The Wyland Foundation sponsored the contest this fall, providing 300 schools nationwide with paint supplies, materials, and large-sized canvases for students to create their own conservation art. The goal of the program is to inspire students to consider the growing demands on U.S. water resources and how they can promote conservation and good stewardship of water.

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