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Jeter-Watson Intermediate School students Lydia Herstine and Gracie Reynolds recently placed in the Virginia School Boards Association’s Blue Ridge Regional Art Competition. From left are Lydia, Burke Harris, who serves as art teacher at Jeter-Watson and Edgemont Primary School; and Gracie. (CCPS Photo)

Jeter-Watson Students Place in Regional Art Competition

Covington, VA (May 12, 2022) - Two Jeter-Watson Intermediate School students, Lydia Herstine and Gracie Reynolds, are among the winners in the Virginia School Boards Association’s Blue Ridge Regional Art Contest.

The contest was held May 4, 2022, with student art from the elementary, middle, and high school levels representing each school division in the competition. The entries were judged virtually by a panel of judges prior to a meeting of school board members from across the VSBA’s Blue Ridge Region.

The Blue Region encompasses 20 school divisions in the Alleghany Highlands, the Roanoke Valley, the New River Valley, and Southside Virginia. 

Lydia was awarded second place in the elementary school competition, while Gracie placed second in the middle school judging.

“I am very excited and very proud of both of these girls. These girls are absolutely very talented,” said Burke Harris, the art teacher at Edgemont Primary School and Jeter-Watson Intermediate. 

Harris covers all grade levels at the schools, pre-kindergarten through the seventh grade. Her students complete art projects on a weekly, or bi-weekly basis, depending on the difficulty of the concept.

“We have had a lot of success in the VSBA Regional Art Contest the last couple of years, so I am really proud of my students,” Harris said.

Lydia, a fifth grader, is a daughter of Adam and Crystal Herstine.

“I was really surprised when I won second place,” said Lydia, who views art as a hobby. “My sister went to art school and she's the one who got me interested in art.” 

Gracie, who is in the seventh grade, is the daughter of Bill and Martha Reynolds.

“I feel accomplished,” Gracie said in describing her excitement over winning second place.

“I view art as a hobby, not as a career ambition. I got interested in art when I was in the third grade. I decided I wanted to be good at something,” she said.

The VSBA Regional Art Contest was started in 1989 to promote the artistic talents of the Commonwealth’s public school students. 

The winning art from the VSBA’s nine regions has traditionally been framed and displayed in the offices of the VSBA in Charlottesville and the Richmond offices of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. However, this year, because the contest was completely virtual, the winning artwork will be featured on the VSBA website and spotlighted during the VSBA Annual Convention, as well as featured in VSBA publications throughout the year.

Gracie’s winning VSBA entry, and works by other sixth and seventh graders at Jeter-Watson Intermediate, are currently on display at the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center in Clifton Forge as part of its 2022 Student Art Show. The exhibit will continue through May 27. The exhibit can be viewed on a virtual tour by visiting the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center’s Facebook page.

Student artworks are also displayed throughout Edgemont Primary and Jeter-Watson Intermediate on bulletin boards and in trophy cases.

Gracie Reynolds' entry

Lydia Herstine's entry


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