scholaslic group pic
Seniors Logan Vitela, Benjamin Kluksdahl, Jack Schrimsher, Joseph Minnis and Junior James Herbert pictured with their nationally recognized pieces of art all laid out in front of them. Photo by Mike Nebel.

Some people draw, others paint, but the true artist uses their precious hands to sculpt their artwork.

Though tedious and meticulous, sculpting can be learned with keen and attentive practice. Sculpting takes years of practice to master, but students have an excellent mentor starting their junior year in the Dean of the Fine Arts Department, Mr. Mike Nebel.

Every year, the National Scholastic Art Awards hosts a competition for students from Harris County. Competitors from both public and private schools sculpted their finest piece of pottery and submitted it for judging.

This year, for the first time in the school’s storied history, six students received awards for a variety of different art styles, mostly ceramics, were recognized by the National Scholastic Art Competition. The five seniors and one junior credit their success to Nebel. Four of the seven total gold key winners in the ceramics competition are Eagles. All four of these winners will go on to New York City for national judging. Seniors Ben Kluksdahl, Joe Minnis, Jack Schrimsher and Logan Vitela, as well as junior James Herbert, who received silver, were all honored at the competition.

Students can begin their ceramic career their junior year, and if talented enough, are admitted into Ceramics II, which is considered by many fellow ceramicists as AP Ceramics. This course is only for the true artists, who are willing to spend their free time working on their piece. Students frequently spend their study hall period in the studio to further perfect and detail their own pieces and also assist with other aspiring artists that may need that little extra help to maybe reach an artistic prowess comparable to these nationally recognized students.

The initial transition between junior to senior year ceramic courses can be a rough roller coaster. However, like all roller coasters, they slow down and ease up. Senior Jack Schrimsher had a rough beginning but quickly learned the key to success.

“Initially, it was pretty hard to learn to sculpt, but once I was able to get control of my hands, working with clay was second nature,” Schrimsher said. Unlike Schrimsher, senior Logan Vitela found the sculpting process a piece of cake.

“The ceramics course was really easy to transition into,” said Vitela. “Mr. Nebel was always there for any questions, which made the course go a lot smoother.” With practice comes perfection, and the Eagle ceramicists will continue their dedication and hard work to master the art of sculpting. Upon receiving the news of their victories, the Eagle ceramics team was ecstatic. The artists could not believe that he had won.

“I am really excited about my art and receiving a gold and silver key,” Vitela said. “I can’t believe that my art is going to the next stages of the scholastic art competition and will be shown in New York City. It truly is a great honor”. Schrimsher went as far as to compared this nomination to the baseball team’s state championship title of last season, of which he played a major role. Schrimsher plans to continue his artistic career while at college.

“I hope that I will be able to mold bowls through all of my years of college.”

-Jack Schrimsher ’15

St. Thomas excels in sports, academics, and also the arts. These Eagle ceramicists are eager to get back in the studio and produce some more magnificent masterpieces.