Out of 12,000 pieces of art, the work of two Scioto High School students has drawn honors as the top 25 of the annual Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition.
A charcoal drawing from senior Jessica Reese and colored pencil sketch from junior Emily Abfalter both received the highest honor from the 2013 Governor's Art Show and will be displayed at the state office tower in downtown Columbus April 14-May 16.
"They are both amazingly talented," Scioto Drawing Instructor Ben Schall said.
Schall helped students pick drawings and paintings to submit to the annual show that draws about 12,000 artworks from all over the state.
"It's a tough competition," he said, adding teachers from throughout the state choose the best student artwork for submission.
Winning a spot in the top 25 pieces of artwork out of the 300 chosen for display was a surprise for Reese.
"Some friends made it a couple years ago and their stuff was great, so I was amazed," she said. "It really boosted my confidence."
As a self-proclaimed slow worker, Reese said this is the first time she's entered the contest.
Her winning piece of art depicts herself in a shirt from her church with a bag on her head.
When she told Schall about her idea, he helped her make it more complicated by adding crinkles to the bag in the charcoal drawing.
"Jess has an amazing ability, but has never been able to get (an artwork) done in time to shine," Schall said.
This year was an exception and Schall said he is happy a spot in the top 25 has given Reese a push into art.
"I think I'd like to go into art in the future," Reese said, noting advertising is also a possibility. "A waste of the talent is one of the worst things you can do."
Abfalter agreed, but isn't planning a future in art.
"I know that I want it to be a part of my life, but not the main focus," she said. "I want to keep it around. I don't like it when people waste their talents."
The junior has entered the Governor's Art Show and made it to the top 300, but this year marks her first time in the top 25.
"I've always been interested (in drawing) but I didn't get good until last year," Abfalter said.
Her winning piece of art was done in colored pencil.
"It was about reaching for the light and being held back by the chains in your life," she said.
This year, Abfalter submitted two pieces of art to the show and was surprised to win a top spot.
"Emily has had a run of success over the last year and a half," Schall said of her spot in last year's Governor's Art Show.
He also sent a drawing Abfalter completed of a Pandora bracelet to the company.
The drawing was passed up the line and made it to the company's Facebook page where it received hundreds of comments and thousands of likes.
"Her reading through all the comments made her feel like a million bucks," Schall said.
Abfalter and Reese aren't the only Scioto students to receive honors from the Governor's Art Show though.
Other Scioto students who made it into the top 300 are seniors Evan Demars, Erin Griffith, Heying Lin, Amanda Little, Megan Ryan, Mario Sanchez and Kim Wedinger; juniors Antonio Campa, Nic Norvat, Linnea Meade, Pooja Patel, McKenzie Schuster and Claudia Sheally; and freshman Kymyanna Pannell.