"Dogs" by Kristin Tollison, a junior at New Madrid County Central High School, was named Best of Show in the competition. The work will be on display at the U.S. Capitol beginning in May.
"I'm delighted to announce the winners of this year's competition, which drew extremely talented entries from throughout our congressional district," said Eighth District Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. "This contest is a great credit to the creativity and artistic skill of our students in Southern Missouri."
There were 10 works selected as honorable mention. These were:
"American Girl" by Jessica Lewis of New Madrid County R-1 High School;
"Guitars Anonymous" by Steven Stratton of Puxico High School;
"Sunset" by Nicholas Jain of Kennett High School;
"The Fallen to the Returned" by Kyla Clark of Dexter High School;
"Learning to Ride" by Janell Wheetley of Puxico High School;
"Melanie Jean" by Deanna Dippold of Saxony Lutheran High School;
"Self Portrait" by Josh May of New Madrid County R-1 High School;
"Jenny" by DeAnton Brown of New Madrid County R-1 High School;
"Pitch" by Amanda Kent of Dexter High School; and
"Caffeine-filled Cherry Flavored Thrill Ride" by Stephanie White of Cape Central High School.
Tollison and the three other prize winners from New Madrid County Central are students in the advanced placement art class taught by Linda Melkersmen.
While students from New Madrid County Central have always done well in the Congressional art competition, Melkersmen said this was the first year one of her students has earned the top award.
She attributed the success to Tollison's talent and effort.
"She really has a gift," said Melkersmen about her student. "Her talent and the time she put in the drawing are reflected in her work. The four Labrador were picture perfect. . . . They are so real, you can see the dogs' eyes and see their character."
While her teacher saw the possibility for success, Tollison said she was surprised by her win, especially after seeing some of the other works done by her peers for the competition.
"There were some excellent paintings. I don't see how I won," she said.
The daughter of Lance and Nichole Tollison of New Madrid, Tollison said she worked for more than a week on the portraits. First she took photos of her pets, then grouped them for her drawing. She added she prefers drawing animals to people.
Her artistic efforts not only won her honors locally, she said they have also earned her a scholarship. Now, she is considering a career in art.
Those are words that please her teacher. "I really hope she can further her education in the fine arts line," said Melkersman. "Missouri has its share of great artists, we may have a future Missouri artist here."
Judges for the competition were Annie Schuchart of Sikeston, Tony Schuch of Cape Girardeau and Herb Wickham of Jackson.