Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights student earns national visual arts award

Samantha Caballero, of Eisenhower High School, is making her mark in the art world. The Sterling Height's student not only earned an American Visions Medal for her painting “Looking Up and Arbitrarily Losing Touch”, but also earned a gold medal for the work, and a silver medal her work "Thursday's Orange".

As an American Voices & Visions winner, Caballero's work was ranked among the top one percent of the more than 300,000 works entered in this year's competition. 

"I think it makes a lot of it worth it when your work is received well by others, especially when the people judging are professionals in their field and see a lot of work," said Caballero. "Art genuinely, and in the most literal sense, runs the world and I'm glad I get to be a part of that bigger picture."

Caballero was one of four Utica Community Schools (UCS) students recently honored nationally for excellence in the visual arts.

Also earning a top award was Molly Wittwer, of Shelby Junior High School, who earned a national gold medal for her photograph “Backstage”. Jacob Schick, of Utica High School, earned a silver medal for his drawing “Starring Off". Savannah Salisbury also earned a Silver award for her photograph “Curiosity". 

Students entered the national competition after earning Scholastic Arts Awards regional honors. This year, nearly 200 honors were awarded to UCS students at the regional competition. Nationally, more than 300,000 works of art and writing were entered in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a program founded in 1923. The awards have nurtured the talents of many creative visionaries, including past winners Truman Capote, Lena Dunham, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, John Updike, and Andy Warhol.

“The UCS art program is an integral part of our students’ academic experiences that nurtures their expression and creativity,” said UCS Superintendent Christine Johns. “As demonstrated by continued state and national recognition, our students’ artwork is consistently at a level that matches work displayed at professional galleries.”
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Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at