The LOHS Arts program is consistently one of the state's best, winning honors regularly for their outstanding work.
"I am really proud of our students and our department," LOHS art teacher Melissa Wilson said. "This is an enormous amount of time and work each year. I am truly blessed to work with an amazing staff at Lake Orion. Our students make Art, but they write a lot, it requires a lot of Math, and a lot of their Social Studies and Science is expressed through their creative expression."
Six art students from Lake Orion High School received gold and silver medals from the 2018 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
One, Matia Rourke, will be honored at a June awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York.
The Empire State Building will be lit in gold in honor of the award winners that evening. Gold medal recipients are invited to the ceremony.
Matia Rourke, Gold Medal, Ceramics and Glass; Madie Graham, Silver Medal, Art Portfolio; Lorin Guisgand, Silver Medal, Photography; Josie Graham, Silver Medal, Photography; Logan Ballagh, Silver Medal, Photography; Rachel Falkowski, Silver Medal, Jewelry
At the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, eight of the state's top 100 recognized pieces were produced by LOHS students, as Emily Penrose, Madeline Graham, Josie Graham finished in the top 18, while Kailyn Eisbrenner, Meredith Parker, and Megan Buckner, Logan Ballagh, and Jhenna Gamache also stood out.
Also, Allessandra Caccia has a piece in the VSA (state organization on arts and disabilities) show.
It travels around the state with a goal of promoting creative power in people with disabilities, and creating a society where they may participate in, learn through, excel in and enjoy the arts.
In 2018-19, Melissa Wilson received the “Inspiring Educator” Scholastic Art Award at the Detroit Institute of Arts. That was followed two days later as the Lake Orion Community Schools High School Teacher of the Year.
With more than 20 years as an LOHS art teacher, Wilson continues to distinguish herself as one of the best in her field.
Wilson attended Wayne State University and College for Creative Studies, always with the eye on this career.
“I’ve wanted to be an art teacher since I was in the fourth grade,” said Wilson, who teaches Advanced Placement Art, Drawing 1-4, Perspective, Watercolor and Oil Painting. “I just give this my all. I love the kids and I try really hard for them… You’re constantly trying to just get better, you’re trying to push yourself, push your kids and think of ways to do things better to reach them, to help them grow so they can be their best.”
Her students’ competition results prove her success. But their testimonials may offer even more insight into her ability.
“She’s really an inspiring teacher,” LOHS senior Gabrielle de Veer said. “She works so hard for us. She stays after school for hours and hours so we can get our work done. She pushes us really hard because she knows that’s the only way we’re ever going to get better. And she doesn’t let us get away with doing anything but our best.”
Wilson’s Scholastic Art Award for the Southeastern Region was the first of its kind and she gave an acceptance speech worthy of the honor Monday night.
With current and former students in attendance, her impact was notable. The event highlighted her students’ annual award production, including 19 Gold Key portfolios in 2016-17.