Portland Christian Schools Preschool - Grade 12

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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

February 9, 2022

Since 2014, PCS art students have been entering their artwork to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: Alliance for Young Artists and Writers (www.artandwriting.org), “the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.”

This year 3,700 pieces of art were submitted by Oregon students.  Less than 10 percent of entries – only about 300 pieces – received an award!  So, we are thrilled that seven PCS students received 12 awards for their amazing and original artwork. This year, PCS student regional area awards included one gold key, five silver keys, and six honorable mentions.  Gold key regional entries are automatically entered into the national awards.  The national medalists are rewarded with scholarships, and a ceremony held in New York City celebrates the artists and their educators.

Our PCS regional gold key recipient this year is 12th grader Avery Heidebrecht. She has entered her art pieces in the Oregon Scholastic regional program every year since 8th grade.  And every year she has received a Gold Key!  In the last five years, she has received three Silver Keys and several Honorable Mentions as well. Heidebrecht credits her art teachers during her time at Portland Christian Schools from elementary through high school, as influencing her interest, abilities and growth as an artist. From Mrs. Nicole Curtis, former elementary art teacher, she learned to use color to express her feelings as well as to enjoy and have fun with art. She began submitting pieces when Mrs. Sarah Whitley, former PCS Jr/Sr High School art teacher, introduced our students to the Scholastic program and gave our students the opportunity to showcase their art.

Heidebrecht expressed appreciation of her current art teacher, Mrs. Evy McLean, “She has shown me how I can express myself in art without using words, and share my personal experiences through art.”

Grace Beals and Eli Chapman, both seniors who will graduate this year, agree that Mrs. McLean is inspirational.  She gives them freedom to interpret the prompts for each class assignment. The trio of seniors note that their art pieces can look very different although the assignment is the same. Chapman exclaims, “Mrs. McLean is the best art teacher I’ve ever had! She gives me direction in my art, and helps me discover what to create.  She’s exposed me to many different forms of art and mediums.”

Beals received a Silver Key award for her Portfolio submission. This category is a special honor as she had to submit six pieces.  

Although none of the seniors are planning on attending an art college, art still plays a part in their future plans.  Heidebrecht hopes to double major in art and hospitality management, while Beals has her eye on a biology major which might take her into forensic science or an arts-related field. Chapman would like to combine computer science with a degree that integrates art.

To these future PCS alumni, we wish them well and are thankful that they have had teachers who have impacted their creative souls and imbued them with the appreciation for visual arts and so much more!


Scholastic Art Winners

From left: Vicky Pham, Cayetana Porras Orgando, Eli Chapman, Avery Heidebrecht, Grace Beals, Evy McLean
(not pictured: Fuka Kawawa, Mai Van)

Enjoy looking through their art pieces shown in alphabetical order by last name!


Grace Beals
Grade 12

Beals:  "Nora"

Silver Key - Nora - Drawing & Illustration

Beals: Gouache Chameleon

Silver Key – Couache Chamelion – Painting

Portfolio piece 1 Portfolio piece 2

Beals portfolio piece 3Beals portfolio piece 4

Silver Key – Baby’s First Portfolio – Art Portfolio


Elijah Chapman
Grade 12

Chapman art: Reflection

Honorable Mention - Reflection - Painting


Avery Heidebrecht
Grade 12

Heidebrecht: Proper PotHeidebrecht:  Proper PotHeidebrecht: Proper Pot

Gold Key – The Proper Pot – Ceramics & Glass

Heidebrecht: Splish Splash painting

Honorable Mention – Splish Splash Parking Lot - Painting

Heidebrecht: Everyone Hates Yellow painting

Honorable Mention – Everyone Hates Yellow – Painting


Fuka Kawawa
Grade 11

Kawawa: Summer Festival printmaking

Honorable Mention  -  Summer Festival – Printmaking


Cayetana Porras Ogando
Grade 10

Ogando: San Fermin Bull Run Linocut -printmaking

Honorable Mention  - San Fermin Bull Run Linocut - Printmaking


Nguyen (Vicky) Pham
Grade 11

Pham: Ballete in Garden - printmaking

Silver Key – Ballete in Garden – Printmaking

Pham: Missed Sydney Opera House - painting

Honorable Mention  - Missed Sydney Opera House – Painting


Mai Van

Van: Cannon Beach - painting

Silver Key – Cannon Beach – Painting






Written by Grace Dugger
Edited by Linda Swenson and Evy McLean