He credits Pelham’s success to a lot of factors, ranging from students willing to explore their talents to an encouraging curriculum and administration at the school.
Principal Dorothy Mohr is quick to ask what the art faculty and students need, he said.
“In a lot of schools, art programs are being cut,” Locke said. “We’re the opposite. Every year, it grows.”
Pelham students excel in different art forms — drawing, painting, sculpture.
“It’s a variety,” Locke said.
The Pelham teachers try to build student confidence and let them express themselves.
“We allow kids to pursue the art they are passionate about,” Locke said.
The teachers try to be persistent in honing their students’ talents, engaging them as much as they can, Norton said. He is pleased with their accomplishments.
“I’m just elated, extremely proud of them,” Norton said.
Jillian’s national award is for pottery, a three-lidded jar set on display at the library.
She has worked with pottery for just a year.
“I came to art class, got on the wheel one day and it came naturally,” she said.
Neither her father, Jim, nor her late mother, Diane, was an artist.
The national honor delighted her.
“I didn’t expect to win anything,” Jillian said.
Now the 18-year-old senior is considering pursuing art studies in college.
Her advice to other student artists is to accept constructive criticism in a positive way and have confidence.
“Believe in yourself,” she said.