Sedalia student art to decorate DESE cards

By Nicole Cooke

3 months 25 days 3 hours ago |6 Views | | | Email | Print

Two Smith-Cotton High School students received an early Christmas present this year.

Diana Tkachuk, 12th grade, and Alejandra Magana found out late last week that their artwork had been selected for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education holiday cards for Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro and State Board President Peter Herschend.

“I was shocked (when I found out), I thought, ‘Isn’t there a lot of other artwork?’” Tkachuk said. “It was fun, when you turn something in and don’t expect anything and now it’s on the website. It makes you feel really good. It’s pretty cool, I feel like I’m getting somewhere in art. I feel like my art is kind of good.”

Each year a different school is selected to design the cards, and Smith-Cotton art teacher Michael Shukers was contacted several months ago about the opportunity to submit student work. He offered the contest as an extracurricular assignment for any interested student, and several submitted artwork to be judged by Nicastro and Herschend. Tkachuk said she used her own ideas, as well as a little help from the Internet.

“I decided to enter because I was up for some Christmas spirit,” she said. “I used the Internet a little, I searched for Christmasy stuff. I got an idea in my mind based on a design I saw. I added on and made it my own.”

Shukers was contacted by email last Wednesday to let him know Tkachuk and Magana were selected.

“They were absolutely excited knowing their artwork will be distributed throughout the capital building as artwork for people to enjoy for holiday cards,” Shukers said. “It’s proof that the artwork they are creating can be accepted and used for something as a real world application of art.”

Shukers and the students weren’t the only ones who were excited. Tkachuk said her family was just as thrilled.

“They all congratulated me,” she said. “I brought a sample home, and my mom said ‘we’re going to frame this.’ She was excited.”

In addition to the latest recognition of Smith-Cotton artists, the art department is selling calendars again. Two varieties are available this year, each for $10. One of the calendars is dedicated to Jennie Jaynes Stadium’s 60th anniversary and includes original photography and drawings from Shukers’ portfolio and drawing students. Shukers said several of the drawings are 20 by 30 inches and take about 20 to 35 hours to complete.

New this year is the color photography calendar, which includes photos from the new digital photography curriculum.

“The original calendar sold well enough I figured the first photography calendar would be a great addition,” Shukers said. “We started a digital photography curriculum last year so it was a natural addition to a curriculum like that.

“The digital photography calendar will offer a wide range of digital image styles, black and white, color splash, sepia, full color, monochrome and sunset silhouettes. This will be the first ever calendar of its kind. It’s great artwork at a good price and it’s useful.”

Proceeds from the calendars will go toward several activities, including a scholarship for a student pursuing art in a two- or four-year degree, an art related field trip and art facility improvements. The calendars will soon be sold in the online school store, and students will be selling them around town. Several local businesses will also be carrying them, and the list of businesses will be announced once the spring semester starts in January.

For more information about the calendars, contact Shukers at


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