SHS art students receive state awards

Michaela Hughes, one of two gold key recipients at the Connection regional scholastic art awards, displays her award and her award-winning project.



The Southington Board of Education celebrated the achievements of two high school seniors on Feb. 28 with certificates of excellence for each of them.

Alaina Rivers and Michaela Hughes were gold key recipients, the highest achievement possible, at the annual Connecticut regional scholastic art awards ceremony at the University of Hartford on Jan. 27. Both earned a scholarship to the University of Hartford.

Art department head Tom Horanzy has been involved with the program for several years.


“It’s been a real pleasure and I’m glad these students get to be recognized tonight for this wonderful award,” said Horanzy. The award ceremony sees private and public schools participate from all around the state. “We’ve done very, very well in the past, and this year, we’ve continued that with two gold key recipients.”

The ceremony was sponsored by the Connecticut Art Education Association, Inc. and the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford.

“The art show at the high school is when we normally invite the public in to celebrate art work of our students. We recognize that through this ceremony, we’ve had the opportunity to see some art early this year,” said BOE chair Brian Goralski. “We know that art is important to the town of Southington, with programs like the Southington community cultural arts (SoCCA) downtown helping to spread it across our community, but it starts in our schools.”

Rivers received her award for a drawing—a close up of gears turning an engine.

“I didn’t expect the award,” she said. Her artwork was a piece she worked on for her studio art class. “I don’t have a specific career path right now but I see myself going towards art.”

Her father John Rivers, a proud supporter of his daughter, was proud of her achievement.

“She tends to be so introverted and shy, so to have her express herself in any way is important,” he said.

Hughes’ project was a photo that implemented the use of chalk to enhance its features. The original project description focused on shadows and reflections.

“I didn’t want to do something basic. I used chalk over the photo to illustrate a wave,” said Hughes. Her project shows the shadow of a surfer gliding over a wave. Hughes said she had her brother jump off a bucket repeatedly in order to get the photo of the shadow.

“It really meant a lot to be appreciated at the award ceremony and for people to see my artwork,” she said.

The artist’s mother, Linda Hughes, said she has watched Michaela draw since she was a young girl.

“It’s wonderful to see her succeeding,” said Linda.

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