The Unknown Soldier

Ever wanted the chance to show off your talents? Ever won? These PVHS art students received the opportunity and took the “W”. The question is, how did they get there?

Alyssa Franklin and Emilia Daffer

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a volunteer service organization that was founded by a group of women in 1890. They are dedicated to promoting patriotism, providing better education for children, and more. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the DAR held a contest, and artists submitted tributes to the tomb of the unknown soldier. The 1st place winner received $50 and 2nd place–$25. The winner was chosen based on how factually accurate the drawing was, as well as the level of skill in the art.

The Pahrump Springs Chapter participants who made it to nationals consisted of four of Mrs. Dabrowski’s art students: Madison Williams-Mendenhall, Madison Cendroski, Penelope Thomas, and Jazmine Staples.

Jazmine Staples

When interviewed about their victory and path to it, Jazmine Staples responded, “The main reason I joined the art contest was that I wanted to draw something memorable. I didn’t expect myself to win by any means, I just joined to put out how I felt about the memorial in my art”. This contest allowed those who wanted to express themselves and their feelings about the subject as a whole. In order to get to this position, however, Jazmine had to work. “I had to see the actual site [of the tomb] to understand what I should do. Obviously, I can’t go to D.C. to see it, so I looked up some photos and used those as references which I sketched out to be my rough draft.”

Madison Mendenhall Williams

“I did it because the teacher asked, but I also felt like I had a pretty good chance of winning,” Madison Williams-Mendenhall told us when asked why she joined. “To do the artwork itself, it was a sort of in-the-moment thing. It was fun.” These art contests give students the opportunity to play around with the creative ideas in their heads, and like Madison demonstrated, can quite enjoy it as well. When asked about her feelings on the contest as a whole, Madison responded, “It made me realize that my work can actually do something and that it’s actually worth turning it in. It actually amounts to something.” Holding talent-based contests for teens especially can help them to find their place in the world, or even just in their culture or community.

Madison Cendroski

Another student, named Madison Cendroski, was interviewed as well: “At first I did it because it was an assignment, but I signed the paper and really wanted to win after I read more about it and what it could do for me. Plus the topic itself was interesting and I’d enjoy making something out of it.” Madison grew into the idea of winning and put true effort into her work. She said that the process consisted of, “A lot of double-checking to see if I was satisfied enough to turn it in. I feel like I can do better now, but at the time I was confident in it and submitted it.” When asked how it benefited her, Madison said that “The contest gave me motivation for art by offering positive feedback from others which made me feel special in a way. It gave me confidence in my abilities as well.” The contest helps those who participate in it to feel valued for their talents.

Penelope Thomas

It was not necessarily a choice for these contestants, however. When asked why she participated, Penelope Thomas responded, “It was assigned to me.” While it was assigned to her, she still made the best of the experience and ended up enjoying it in the end, “It’s an experience I’m enjoying: winning, the recognition,” She responded when asked how it benefited her. She’s not only grateful for her own win, though; one final note she made was to give a shoutout to all the other winners and say congratulations for their wins.

While kept a little “down-low”, the contest had very positive effects on those who participated. It allowed for expression and experimentation and gave them the opportunity to put themselves out there. For further information on the Daughters of the American Revolution, visit their website.