2009-10 Art News and Awards


Four Benson High Magnet art students received letters from the University of Iowa informing them that their artwork received awards for the Iowa Multi-State Regional Scholastic Art Awards.   This competition encompasses all or parts of 16 states. 

 Keng (Chad) Yang and Miranda Davis received Gold Key Awards and their work will be going on to New York for national judging later this spring.  Miranda's work was a multi media composition called "Pop Art Pet" and Chad's work was a scratchboard self portrait.  Helen Lee received a Silver Key for her scratchboard "Portrait with Mask" and an Honorable Mention for her pastel drawing "Bunny".   Aljenis Bonilla also received a Silver Key award for his scratchboard self-portrait. 

All these students had their work on display at the TAC building during the NSVAC (Nebraska State Visual Art Competition) exhibit at the TAC building from February 22-28.  The Gold Key winners will received automatic Gold Key awards for the NSVAC exhibit.


Two Benson students received recognition for their computer-generated projects from the Nebraska Educational Technology Association.  DeVante Jones received a 3rd place award in the Graphic Imagery category for his "Color Me Cool" self-portrait done in Photoshop.  Helen Lee placed in the Express Yourself category of the Open Class competition for her rotoscoped animation called "Flight" done in Adobe Flash.

These students as well as their teacher, Mrs. Astra Patterson, will be recognized at the 2010 NETA Convention this coming spring.


The following students received honors at the 2010 Nebraska State Visual Arts Competition:

American Visions Award (Best of Show) - Miranda Davis

Lauritzen Gardens Art Competition Awards:  

       Helen Lee - $500 Scholarship    
       Jaimee Pitzl - $500 Scholarship
       Silvan Juan - $250 Scholarship
Art Portfolio Awards:   Keng (Chad) Yang -  Gold Key
                                 Erendira Ventura-Rodriguez - Bronze Key

Key Awards:    Chad Yang - 2 Gold Keys, Silver Key, Scholastic Gold Key
                        Miranda Davis - Gold Key, Scholastic Gold Key
                        Helen Lee - Gold Key, 2 Silver Keys, Scholastic Silver Key, Scholastic Honorable Mention
                        Aljenis Bonilla - Gold Key, Scholastic Silver Key
                        Taye Edwards - Gold Key
                        Yoselink Pena - Gold Key, Silver Key
                        Shirley Jensen - Gold Key, Bronze Key
                        Andrea Carper - 2 Gold Keys
                        Rodney Hall - Gold Key
                        Jasmine Ruch - Gold Key, Bronze Key
                        Brytany Thompson - Silver Key
                        Erendira Ventura-Rodriguez - 2 Bronze Keys
                        Lance Bartling - Bronze Key
                        Nick Grandgenett - Bronze Key
                        Moo Say - Bronze Key
                        Jacob Garrett - Bronze Key

We are very proud of these art students.  They continue the tradition of excellence at Benson High School.

Congratulations to Benson art student finalists whose work was chosen for the Bellevue University Metro Seniors Art Exhibit:  Jacob Garrett, Shirley Jensen, Andrea Carper, Darry Tull, Erendira Ventura-Rodriguez, Brytany Thompson, Diana Woruo, Taye Edwards, Brandie Allen, Mercedes Schwerman, and Jordan Anderson. 

Best of show awards were presented to Jacob Garrett for second place in the Digital Media category, Taye Edwards for second place in Drawing, and Andrea Carper for third place in Ceramics.  The show will be on display at the Hitchcock Art Gallery at Bellevue University throughout April.  Great work Benson art students!!


Congratulations to Helen Lee whose artwork has been selected to be on a billboard for the Omaha Public Schools Youth Art Month Billboard Project.  The billboard is sponsored by Benson High School's Adopt-A-School-partner, 1st National Bank of Omaha, and will be located at 48th and Military.  It is going to be displayed around the 8th of March and will remain up for a month.  A reception for the artists and their families will be held on April 27th from 4-5p.m. at Love's Jazz and Arts Center on 24th and Lake.

2008-09 Art News and Awards

Nebraska State Visual Arts Competition

    Congratulations to Benson High School Magnet’s art, pottery, and computer graphic design students who received a total of 36 medals in the Nebraska State Visual Arts Competition.  This number represents the highest medal count in the district.
The following students received medals for their work in ceramics:

        Andrew Hillmer – Gold, Silver, 2 Bronze   
        Sabrina Sayavong – Gold
        Sara McGuire - Gold
        Shayquetta Sawyer – Silver
        Katherine Rubiales – Silver
        Ana Ceballos – Silver
        Schelby Bramer – Silver
        Fetina Owens – Bronze
        Diana Woruo – Bronze
        Jessica Hagstrom – 4 Bronze
        Ashley Cotton – Bronze

    The following students received medals for their individual artwork:
        Jeny Orona – Gold for Portfolio, Silver, 2 Bronze
        Suzanne Egan – Silver for Portfolio, Silver, Bronze
        Janete Catalan – Silver – Computer Graphic Design
        Shirley Jensen – Silver
        Yoselink Pena – Silver
        Dillon Rucker – Silver, 2 Bronze
        Shol Gout – Silver
        DeJanna Creighton – Silver
        JaTera Palmer – Bronze
        Raina Woods – Bronze
        Ariana Seals – Bronze
        Rodney Hall – Bronze

    These students received their awards at an Awards Ceremony at the Teacher’s Administration Center (TAC) on February 28, 2009.  We are extremely proud of our young artists for carrying on the tradition of excellence at Benson High School.

Lauritzen Gardens Scholarship Art Award

    Jeny Orona’s portrait with a rose was selected by Lauritzen Gardens for a $500 scholarship.  This award will be presented to Jeny at the Art in Bloom Festival.  A print of her work will be donated professionally framed by Stonehouse Publishing and presented to the school.  Jeny is a very deserving student and plans to use the scholarship money to continue in her study of art.

Omaha Schools Foundation Portfolio Scholarship Award

    Jeny Orona received another $500 scholarship through the Omaha Schools Foundation for her art portfolio presented at the Nebraska State Visual Arts Competion.  We are very proud of all of Jeny’s efforts.

Nebraska Educational Technology Association Award

    A digital animation called “Animator” by Destyni Dees, a Benson senior art student, is a winning entry in the Open Class category sponsored by NETA.  Destyni’s creation was entered under Highlight Your Talents which tells “who you are and what makes you special” through a digital creation of student’s choice.  Destyni’s animation will receive recognition in the upcoming NETA Newsletter and the entry will be featured during the 2009 Conference. .  Destyni is enrolled in The Graphic Design Academy Program at Benson.  His project was chosen from entries all over the State of Nebraska.

    Suzanne Egan’s computer graphic design also placed in NETA’s inaugural graphic imagery contest.   Suzanne placed third in the grades 9-12 “Digital Collage” portion of this contest. 

National Youth Art Month Billboard Award

    Tony Tran’s oil pastel self-portrait was chosen to represent Benson High School during National Youth Art Month in March.  His work will be enlarged on a billboard on 48th and N.W. Radial.  He will be honored along with other billboard artists from Omaha Public Schools at a reception later in the spring.  The sponsor for the billboard is First National Bank, one of our Adopt-A-School partners.  Good job, Tony!

Nebraska Congressional Art Caucus Competition.

    Raina Woods’ pastel still life drawing won second place in the Nebraska Congressional Art Caucus Competition.  The winning artists will be honored at a ceremony at the State Office Building in Lincoln during March Youth Art Month.  Their work will hang in the State Office Building for visitors to view.  We are so glad Benson will be represented in this prestigious exhibit at the State Capitol.

2009 Bellevue University Metro Seniors Exhibit

    The Art Department had 15 students whose work was selected for the Bellevue University Metro Senior Art Show this year.  The opening reception and ceremony was held on March 25 at the Hitchcock Humanities Center of Bellevue University.  The students with work chosen were: 

    Adriana Davis
    Suzanne Egan
    DeJanna Creighton
    Raina Woods
    Janete Catalan
    Dominique Clark
    Domonique Conway
    Andrew Hillmer
    Aubri Rice
    Jessica Hagstrom
    Schelby Bramer
    James Ryder
    Ana Ceballos
    Jeny Orona
    Shol Gout

Additional over all show awards were given to the following students in several categories:



    Several Benson students have been accepted into the highly selective mentoring programs with The Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts. 

    Taye Edwards, Jessica Hagstrom, and Rodney Hall of Benson High School have been selected to be young artists in the summer semester of the Visual Arts Mentoring Programs. Taye and Jessica have been enrolled in some of the earlier mentoring programs.  Each of the students who are admitted into The Kent Bellows Studio’s Mentoring Programs display unique creative vision and strong artistic drive. 

    The Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts is a nonprofit organization in Omaha with a mission to ignite the creative spark in individuals, encouraging them to reach their highest potential through self-expression in the visual arts.  By fostering independence and critical-thinking now, students will be able to benefit from those skills and self-confidence for the rest of their lives.  


2007-08 Art News and Awards


This year the pottery students competed on the national level by entering the National K12 Ceramic Exhibition.  This is an annual national juried ceramic competition for kindergarten through 12th grade students in the United States designed to show case the best ceramic work made in the United States.  This exhibition takes place in a different city each year in conjunction with the annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).  The juror of the National K12 Ceramic Exhibition is selected from the top rank of American ceramic artists and the juror’s decisions are final.  This year’s juror was Richard Burkett, who currently teaches ceramics at San Diego State University.  Teachers from around the nation submit images of student ceramic work to the juror for consideration.

There were more than 850 entries from which only 150 made it into the exhibition. Two of those 150 were from Benson High School Magnet.  Senior Tricia Caudillo entered her black vase with a monochromatic blue carved design.  And freshman Katherine Rubiales entered her puzzle vase.  Their art works were packed up and shipped to Pittsburgh, PA for the exhibition.  Once the exhibition was set up the juror came back and took another look at the art works and gave out additional honors.  Katherine Rubiales took a 9-10 Honorable Mention.  Great job ladies!


On Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Benson High School Magnet art and photography award winners were recognized at the 22nd Annual Metro Seniors Art Show at Bellevue University. Any metro senior was eligible to enter two pieces of art in this juried art show hosted by Bellevue University at the Hitchcock Humanities Center.

Benson High DOMINATED the top honors in several categories of this competition.  We were represented by 10 students having their work accepted into the show, which is a great accomplishment in itself with this being a very competitively judged exhibit.  The following students had work selected for the show:

Caitlin Bell - 2 Pieces
Skylar Bowen (Photography) - 2 Pieces
Tricia Caudillo - 2 Pieces
Christine Grubbs - 2 Pieces
Anna Happel
Faith Penney
Holly Mahood
Le Drake - 2 Pieces
Megan Pierce Cramer
Jessica Cave (Photography-Career Center)


Drawing 1st Place - Le Drake
Drawing 2nd Place - Megan Pierce-Cramer
Ceramics 1st Place - Christine Grubbs
Ceramics 3rd Place - Tricia Caudillo
Sculpture 1st Place - Anna Happel
Photography 1st Place - Skylar Bowen
Photography 3rd Place - Jessica Cave (Career Center)
Graphic Design 1st Place - Skylar Bowen



During the month of January and February, Benson High School Magnet Art students participated in the Third Annual Nebraska State Visual Arts Exhibition and Ceremony.
The purpose of this competition is to bring before a wide audience the quality of art that has been created by secondary students of the area; also to give encouragement and recognition to students for outstanding achievement in art; and finally to provide students and teachers with the opportunity to see quality artwork from other schools and communities in Nebraska.
Our students received award recognition on February 23, 2008 at the Omaha Public Schools TAC Auditorium where each winner had his/her work displayed individually in the presentation and on display for a month at the TAC building.  Altogether Benson received 29 awards.

Congratulations to the following students!

Tony Beasley         Gold
Jenny Orona            Gold
Megan Pierce-Cramer     Gold, Silver, Bronze
Skylar Bowen        2 Gold
Le Drake            Gold, Silver
Shol Gout            Gold, Bronze
Christine Grubbs        Gold
Holly Mahood        Gold, Silver 
Matt Miners             Gold, bronze
Chris Seney            Gold
Jesse Morissey        Silver
Dylan Mustoe        Silver
Tricia Caudillo        2 Silver
Caitlin Bell            Silver
Brittany Petri            Silver
Elideth Ramirez        Silver
Suzanne Egan        Bronze
Brandon Harper        Bronze
Katherine Rublales        Bronze
Erendira Ventura        Bronze

Portfolio Winner       Megan Pierce-Cramer     Bronze

We are very proud of our art students!


This year’s Senior Art Exhibit will be held at Benson High School on Wednesday,
May 7, 2008 in Room 200, the main art room at Benson High school.  Any senior who has participated in an art class while at Benson is eligible to submit their work for display. Students may choose to sell their work or only display it. 

Family members, friends, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to participate in this wonderful event which showcases student work in fine arts, pottery and computer graphic design.  Professional judges will judge this year’s entries in three categories.  The categories will be Two-dimensional, Pottery, and Computer Graphic Design.  Awards will be presented to the three winners in each category.  We hope to see everyone there.


March was National Youth Art Month. Omaha Public Schools celebrates this month by having Adopt-A-School partners and other organizations sponsor billboards all over the city showing student artwork created in our schools.  Benson was happy to have two billboard artists chosen.   The first is Skylar Bowen who had his winning photograph of a lily reproduced on a billboard at Saddlecreek and California.  WOWT and Malone & Co sponsored his billboard.  The second artist is Suzanne Egan whose computer graphic design poster of Benson called “The Heart of Omaha” was reproduced on a billboard at 48th and Military.  Her billboard was sponsored by 1st National Bank.  A billboard reception will be held in April to honor these students.