Former Kennedy Middle School student wins statewide art contest


For the second year in a row, one of Jennifer Younger's art students at Kennedy Middle School has won statewide recognition.

Kendra Werth, a seventh-grade student at Kennedy Middle School last year, won the Kansas State Department of Education annual conference cover art design contest.

Werth's artwork was used for the conference materials and displayed at the conference Nov. 6 and 7.

Werth is a student at Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior High School this year, but she and her parents, Rosie and Craig Werth, were guests at the evening presentation. She received $100 and a poster of her artwork.

The winner's art teacher and principal also are guests at the conference, so Younger and former Kennedy Principal Shanna Dinkel attended.

Younger has been teaching art since 2008. Until this year, she taught at Kennedy and at Washington Elementary School. This year, she's teaching at Hays Middle School and Washington.

Last year was the first year her students entered the contest, and Kelsie DeWitt won the 2011 contest as a Kennedy eighth-grader.

Because it's a statewide contest, there are hundreds of entries each year, Younger said.

The contest doesn't have a list of criteria, but the theme was "Kansas, Oh the Places We'll Go." Entries can be in any media; they just must be a certain size.

Younger said she and her students brainstormed about things that symbolized education, and the Dr. Seuss book and characters.

Contests give students an appreciation for the arts, Younger said.

"It shows them they can do arts just for fun, and they also get places with it. ... We like to promote the arts whether in exhibition, at the library, or contests, even just in the community and within our school. Hays has a really great art program (and) a town which has a focus on art, which is good."

Rachel Proffitt, then a La Crosse High School junior, was the second-place winner.