Cypress Woods HS graduate earns $10,000 national art scholarship

July 1, 2019

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Cypress Woods High School graduate Taylor Powers poses with Tina Fox, Powers’ photography teacher in New York City, N.Y. Powers is one of eight $10,000 art portfolio scholarship recipients awarded by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

A Harris County Department of Education press release.

July 1, 2019— Cypress Woods High School graduate Taylor Powers is one of eight $10,000 art portfolio recipients awarded by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards through the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. 

Powers traveled to New York City in June with her family and photography teacher, Tina Fox, for the prestigious national awards ceremony. This year, Scholastic recognized 800 teen Gold Medalists selected from more than 340,000 national entries from young artists and writers, all ranging from seventh- to 12th grade. Locally, Powers’ portfolio was chosen last winter by a panel of art professionals from the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE), a regional affiliate of the awards.

“New York City was like a fairytale to me,” Powers said. “From visiting the Today Show, to seeing the Jonas Brothers, to getting lost on the subway and experiencing Times Square, the experience mimicked a movie and a dream come true.”

Backstage at Carnegie Hall, visiting celebrities greeted the top-awarded students. Tina Fey posed for a personal photo with Powers, and the Saturday Night Live star even complimented Powers on her dress.

“I was smiling so hard that I could barely get out the words ‘thank you,’” Powers said.

Cypress Woods High School graduate Taylor Powers poses with actress Tina Fey at Carnegie hall in New York City, N.Y.
Cypress Woods High School graduate Taylor Powers poses with actress Tina Fey at Carnegie hall in New York City, N.Y.

Tina Fox, Powers’ photography teacher at Cypress Woods, has been an art teacher for almost 30 years and has been involved with HCDE’s regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for 27 years. Through the validation and recognition students gain from Scholastic, Fox sees student confidence rise. As Powers began working on her senior photography portfolio this year, Fox knew it was unique and powerful.

“This is the first time I’ve had a student receive this type of award,” Fox said. “I know this award has opened opportunities for her that she otherwise might not have had.”

Andrea Segraves, HCDE’s Scholastic Art and Writing coordinator, sees the power of expression that Scholastic Art & Writing Awards lends to young student artists and writers as they gain notoriety for their artistic talents.

“The Awards have identified and honored so many talented writers and artists over the years like Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Lena Dunham and Ken Burns,” Segraves said. “To join in those ranks is such an empowerment for these teens.”

Powers’ future career plans include attending community college until she hears back from the esteemed Savannah College of Art and Design, her dream college. Powers is also quick to credit Fox for encouraging and pushing her artistic endeavors while thanking her mother, Letitia, for influencing her creativity and buying the digital camera to help her forge her artistic pathway.

For information about entering, judging or sponsoring the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards through Regional Affiliate Harris County Department of Education, visit the Scholastic website.

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