Student receives art scholarship

TORONTO – City high school senior Mindy Morris recently was chosen as one of the 2012 Division of Art Scholarship recipients from West Liberty University.

Morris, granddaughter of Wilford and Rosemary Swearingen of Toronto, earned the four-year arts scholarship, which includes $4,500 annually to help with tuition and books as well as a housing waiver.

The scholarship competition was open to all graduating seniors and was not limited to residents of West Virginia. Scholarship applicants were required to submit an application for admittance to WLU and present a portfolio of at least six pieces of original work to earn the scholarship, according to Morris.

“(The scholarship) is awarded to four of five students about to graduate from different school districts – not just Toronto,” she said. “I was interviewed by all the art teachers at West Liberty (as part of the application process). I submitted some colored pencil drawings, a few charcoal sketches and pen-and-ink (artworks).”

The university art faculty judged the portfolios Dec, 3, said Morris, adding the judges made their decision Dec. 10. She said judges seemed impressed with her abilities in different art mediums.

“The judges thought my artwork was interesting,” Morris said, adding she was interviewed by eight art teachers at the university. “They asked if I liked teaching as well as creating art. I enjoy teaching kids.”

Toronto High School art teacher Amanda Speece said Morris is an exceptional student.

“(Morris) is a creative thinker and really has an eye for art,” said Speece. “I’m impressed by her abilities and motivation. She always puts forth her best efforts in all her work. She’s a great helper in the classroom, whether it’s helping another student with a project or lending an ear to a student who needs a friend. I think she will make an excellent art teacher. She is kind, thoughtful and inspiring.”

Morris said Speece also has been a big influence on her and inspired her to want to become a teacher.

“(Speece) inspired me to do this,” said Morris. “She’s an amazing teacher, and I want to be an art teacher.”