Licking the competition: Cathedral students sweep state duck stamp contest

Published 5:28 pm Sunday, April 22, 2018


NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School students swept the statewide junior duck stamp contest, earning all 25 awards.

One student, Avery McMillin, earned best of show and will advance to the national competition and a chance for her artwork to be featured on a federal duck stamp.

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Waterfowl hunters 16 and older are required to purchase federal duck stamps, the proceeds of which help support waterfowl, wetlands and conservation efforts.

The art images for the stamps are selected each year from a series of art contests with junior and adult divisions.

The art teacher at Cathedral High School Andree Gamberi said approximately 150 students participated in the junior duck stamp art contest statewide.

Gamberi said she mailed 26 of her students’ artwork to be entered in the contest. Of those entries, all but one of them received prizes.

“That was all the prizes that there were in that age group,” Gamberi said. “There are only 25 available prizes, nine in the first second and third category and 16 honorable mentions.”

The contest has several regulations that require students to create original artwork from images of specific species of waterfowl — including wood duck, American wigeon, northern pintail, green-winged teal and lesser scaup.

Gamberi said the students were required to do more than copy a picture. They had to create an original setting and a pose for the duck in their mind’s eye to avoid plagiarism.

First-place winners include CeCe McKinney and Caroline Kaiser who are both in 12th-grade.

First-place winner and Best of Show — McMillin, 11th-grade — will compete in the national contest on April 20.

Second-place winners are Alexandra Person, 11th-grade; Mia Gamberi, 11th-grade and Taylor Lessley, 10th-grade.

Third-place winners are Kaitlyn Lees, 12th-grade; Miah Wheeler, 10th-grade and Taylor Maples, 11th-grade.

Gamberi said that all the winning artists’ work, apart from McMillin, would be displayed at a museum on the Gulf Coast.

“Each state chooses the Best of Show, and they go on to compete nationally,” Gamberi said.

The winner of the national contest will receive $1,000 prize money, a trip to Washington and have their artwork featured as a duck stamp.

McMillin received a $50 gift certificate to Hobby Lobby for winning the state contest while other students received drawstring backpacks with colored pencils, paints, drawing tablets and other goodies.

Cathedral High School students who received honorable mention include: Daisha Woods, Baylee Graning, Abigail Hand, Annie Russ, Emily Rasco, Piper Mophett, Hannah Mire, Maggie Ulmer, Heather Almekdad, Christi Harrison, Hayes Daly, Mary Evans Kelley, Emily Hicks, Hailey Ellis,Erica Mireles and Samantha Montgomery.