FAIRMONT — Two students from Fairmont High School won over the judges of the State Fish Art Contest — hook, line and sinker.
Senior Michael Groves and freshman Terrie Locklear took first place in the contest, which asked students to draw the state’s fish, the Channel Bass, and write an essay about it.
“They worked hard for it,” said Ashley Berdeau, the Art Department chair at Fairmont High School. “The paper and the project itself are equally weighted, so you could have an outstanding drawing, but if the paper wasn’t worth anything then it’s not going to go anywhere.”
Locklear won the seventh- through ninth-grade category, and Groves won the10th- through 12th-grade division. They competed against about 3,200 other students in the state.
Their prize is an invitation to the State-Fish Art Expo on June 24 and June 25 in Athens, Texas. Berdeau is trying to raise the money so that the student’s trip is free.
“I know next year Michael is going off to major in digital art and then Terrie, being a ninth-grader, just exposing her to what’s out there so maybe throughout her high school career she can develop a solid portfolio if she wants to continue with art,” Berdeau said. “Just adding to her college applications. It’s something to make her stand out.”
At the State-Fish Art Expo, the two will attend workshops, meet other winners, and work alongside professionals.
“To be the first place in my grade out of the whole state is exciting,” Groves said. “She e-mailed it to me that I won, and I went nuts. It’s a big opportunity for me and it’ll help me get into a college and maybe get a scholarship.”
Groves has not yet decided where he wants to go to school.
Groves’ drawing, which features a large Channel Bass among seaweed, water and a treasure chest, was drawn using colored pencils.
“I had no idea what the Channel Bass looked like, so I looked it up and got a good mind of it,” Groves said. “I tried to make it look as real as possible. I just drew little hills in the back under water.”
Locklear used colored pencils as well, and included two fish swimming together. She tried to blend colors to match the fish and made sure to include the black spot on the fish’s tail.
“At first I didn’t think I was going to win, I was shocked,” Locklear said. “I’ve never been before and I think it would be a great honor for me to go to Texas.”
So far, they have raised about $500 for the trip. Berdeau said the trip will cost about $600 per student.
“It ran on news channel 13 the other day and somebody came in off the street from town and gave us a $200 check,” Berdeau said. “Just exposing it and people realizing it is a big opportunity for such a small school to be able to send someone that far.”
They are selling candy, as well as sending letters to organizations and businesses to try and garner help. To donate, call the school at (910) 628-6727 or e-mail Berdeua at email@example.com.
This is the first year the school has entered the contest.
Also doing well in the contest were freshman Crystal Guyton, who won third place, and junior Ny’Ree Watson, who won second. While many entrants drew the fish realistically, Berdeau said others put their own spin on them. Watson’s fish had pink and green incorporated into it.
“We’re very proud of their accomplishments,” said Isabel Jones, the assistant principal of the school. “… From a small school, we have very talented students and they are able to compete with larger schools across the county and state.”
Berdeau said this contest is a great opportunity for the students to get out of a small town.
“It helps when you start winning things because it ups the morale in the school,” Berdeau said. “Like, ‘We can do this. We are good at this.’”