Local student wins honors in state art competition

David Broyles Staff Reporter

January 21, 2014

RALEIGH — Sixth-grade student Kayla Gonzalez, who attends Mount Airy Middle School (MAMS), is a winner of the statewide North Carolina Association of Educators’ (NCAE) Multicultural Arts Contest.

Gonzalez was recognized during the Association’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Gala on Jan. 10 and her work will be on display through February at the NCAE Center.

Officials from the contest report Gonzalez won in the Grade 6-8 Artwork Category for her drawing titled “Diversity.” She was presented with a plaque by NCAE President Rodney Ellis.

”In first grade I won a coloring contest in a newspaper,” said Gonzalez. “We (she and her classmates) are in Students With Ambitious Goals (SWAG) activities and we heard about the contest and all entered. I looked at what all the other students were doing and designed to do something different. I decided on doing something with a face in the mirror.”

Mount Airy Middle School has implemented a time at the end of each day called SWAG. Throughout the year, students will rotate through four of the 18 academic clubs offered during this time. Ten of these groups compete at a variety of levels both locally and at the state level.

SWAG activities include the academic competition Quiz Bowl, The Quill writing competition, Twelve, which is a knowledge based academic competition, an art showcase, show choir, the problem solving competition called eCybermission, First Lego League, Science Olympiad, drama, Math Counts and culinary arts and Envirothon which is a natural science competition.

Gonzalez explained the metaphor of a mirror in her work was used more for insight than reflection. She said she has always liked drawing and is also learning to play the flute.

“I express myself in pictures. It’s easy for me to draw something,” Gonzalez said. “It gets my mind off things but my mind is still active while I’m in the process (of creating). The result surprised me.” She explained she often likes to work with the human figure because it is a good way to communicate many different ideas.

Gonzalez said she was pleased with the result of Diversity and really enjoyed participating in the formal awards ceremony.

“Everybody was dressed up and it was really nice,” Gonzalez said. “It was a pleasure just being there.” She also plans to continue with art and said she thinks it would be fund to be an art teacher or doing something with art one day or perhaps training to be a massage therapist.

“I started off by just coloring and then started drawing more than usual,” said Gonzalez. “It’s better than anything else for me. I enjoy the challenge of creating something. Just drawing I can put it into my mind and it helps me understand better.”

The Multicultural Arts Contest, sponsored by the NCAE Human and Civil Rights Commission, is open to all public school students in grades K-12 and educators who are members of NCAE. There are seven contest categories, artwork, short stories, poetry, essays, quiz books, teaching units for minority awareness and digital art.

Reach David Broyles at or 336-719-1952.