Stella completed her painting, named “Second Place Team,” during Project Week last year. In addition to her Gold Key Award, Stella also won two honorable mention awards for her other work.
When asked what inspired her to paint this piece, Stella shared, “As a current junior in high school, with college on the horizon, I’ve begun to reimagine my understanding of a seemingly simplistic concept: home. For myself, this definition is instilled within the people who surround me, namely, my parents and my brother. In this piece, I channeled my focus on my Dad, who loves anything relating to westerns and cowboys. I will always be imprinted by Dad’s strong sense of responsibility and respect, both of which he associates with the western lifestyle. This piece served as an opportunity for myself to further understand my Dad, beyond the context of serving as a parental figure in my life. I wanted to view him as a whole individual, who endures the pains, losses, hopes, and joys of life. But at the end of the day, he maintains a sense of internal stillness from the horses he knew, the cowboys who cared, and the West Texas mountain ranges who protected his spirit amidst the most vulnerable of times.”
At Headwaters local Poetry Out Loud competition, our students competed by reciting a poem written by someone else. Competitors were judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, interpretation, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy. Stella recited “My Grandmother’s Love Letters
” by Hart Crane. She said that she chose this poem because her own great-grandmother passed away this past summer at the age of ninety-eight. Stella said, “In many ways, she felt like a distant grandmother of my own, and I would always refer to her as ‘Grandma.’ Even though I primarily knew her during her later years, where her mental capacity was limited, her ability to show kindness, respect, and love never dwindled. I find myself thinking of her often, and while reading this poem, I was able to encounter her essence of wisdom, reverence, and a contagious lust for life.”
We invite everyone to join Stella on Saturday, February 24, 2024 from 1-4 p.m. at the Bullock Texas State History Museum for the Texas Poetry Out Loud State Finals. We’re all rooting for you, Stella!