Laurel High School art students sweep Congressional Art Competition for Montana

Thursday, June 23, 2022
Audry Wagner won second place

Audry Wagner won second place

Taylor Hart won first place

Taylor Hart won first place

Wyatt LaBolle won third place

Wyatt LaBolle won third place

Three Laurel High School students won all three of the top awards in the prestigious national U.S. Congressional Art Competition for the Montana At-Large District.

Taylor Hart (a junior) won first place, Audry Wagner (a sophomore) won second place, and Wyatt LaBolle (a senior) won third place. The award recognizes exceptional young artists in all 50 states by conducting a contest in each Congressional district. Montana has only one Congressional district and recognizes the top three submissions from students in the state of Montana.

The U.S. Congress provides travel vouchers for the first place winner to travel to Washington, DC, to attend the winners’ reception. This year, Taylor Hart and her grandmother will travel to Washington, DC, to participate in the reception. Taylor’s watercolor painting will hang in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol, for one year until the next competition is conducted in 2023.

“It would be an amazing honor to have just one of our students rise to this level of achievement and win any of the top three spots, but to have three of our students win all three of the top awards is (I believe) unprecedented and such an amazing honor for our students and our school,” said Dr. Ceilon Aspensen, art teacher at Laurel High School. “I could not be more proud of these amazing young artists. They have worked so hard and definitely deserve to be recognized. I am so very proud of them.”

Laurel High School principal Shawnda Zahara-Harris echoed the praise. “We could not be prouder of these students and their accomplishments,” Zahara-Harris said.

“To watch them be successful in the area of art is just another fine example of the talents these students possess and potential they hold for the future. I am so excited for all of them and so very proud!” Laurel school superintendent Linda Filpula also congratulated the students.

“Congratulations to Taylor Hart, Audry Wagner, and Wyatt LaBolle for their award-winning entries. It takes perseverance and practice to attain a high level of competence in any field and it is exciting to see the hard work, dedication, and passion of our students recognized,” Filpula said. “Congratulations also to Dr. Ceilon Aspensen for her continued guidance and support to help our students succeed!”

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