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Artist Spotlight: a few of Rolla High’s many talented artists

Rosalia Bolyard, Courtney Kelley, Staff Writers

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CALLY GREER
Art

For some, relaxing could mean binge watching a favorite show, taking a hot bath, or even doing yoga, but Cally Greer, junior, prefers to draw.

“I like drawing more than anything, and I like art because it is a way for me to relieve stress,” Greer said.

Greer is a junior currently enrolled in AP Studio Art Drawing with Mrs. Engelbrecht, someone who has been an important part in Greer’s life.

“Recently, Mrs. E has motivated me in my classes. She has just been supportive and she encourages me to pursue my art,” Greer said.

Originally, when she began taking art classes and drawing in second grade, Greer would draw because she was bored, but this later turned into passionate hobby for her. Her favorite way to express herself through drawing.

“I try to focus more on drawing people, but I do a variety of things. I like both 2D and 3D art. In my free time and in class, I doodle on the back of notebooks or papers,” Greer said.

There are some more famous artists that inspire Greer to draw. One of her favorite artists is Andy Warhol, a leading figure in the visual art movement called “pop art.” Kehinde Wiley is another artist who is known for his portraits of African Americans.

“I’d say my favorite artists are probably Andy Warhol and Kehinde Wiley. I like their art because it’s different from other artists,” Greer said.

Other inspiration comes from various factors in her life.

“When I am in a good mood, I feel more motivated to draw,” Greer said.

Greer has been interested in art for many years, and she plans to keep doing it for fun in the years to come. Finding a way to relieve stress can be helpful in high school with all the homework and demands. Luckily, she has found her own way to relieve stress.

RILEY STEVENSON
Drama

Imagine this, the lead actor is up on stage, playing the role he has always wanted. Along with his fellow cast members, they are belting out the main melody of the musical, as the crowd delivers claps and cheers. As they release the last note of the tune, the crowd stands with uproar and the cast receives a standing ovation, a feeling that they will never ever lose. This is a feeling that Junior Riley Stevenson knows very well. Stevenson has a love for drama that no one else has, an appreciation that he takes to heart.

“Well, I accidentally signed up for eighth grade drama class, and I thought it was pretty cool. So I just stuck with it,” Stevenson said.

Clearly that love of being on stage grew to be something bigger for Stevenson.

“I think the most fun part about being in plays is all the friends that I make and how you immerse yourself and interact backstage as friends, and as different characters,” said Stevenson.

Stevenson describes the audition process amazing detail.

“You will get a picked out monologue a week before. You have to memorize it and see how you play that character. Normally, you watch the production and see what you would change about it, in your own perspective. Then, you make some tweaks and get your role. You do a bit of background work on who they would be and how you want to play them,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson has his own twist on how he prepares for a role.

“I do a lot of research on what kind of person they would be. For Big Jule I did research on people like Al Capone,and other gangsters. Then, I also put my own twist on them as well,” Stevenson said.

Along with all of the memories that he associates with drama, Stevenson also gave some insight on how to join the program, if anyone is interested.

“Normally, people join by seeing the production and you know their interest gets peaked in the work backstage for a production.They see that it’s not as hard as it seems. They just fall in love with it,” Stevenson said

The drama department has lots to offer for the student body. Last memories, amazing friends, and more. Catch an RHS drama department production for a great show!

RJ ALFRED
Art

RJ Alfred, senior, is not only a part of the varsity football team, but enjoys art too. He has been described by his art teacher, Mrs. Engelbrecht, as a rising star. Currently, he is in beginning 2D art, but Alfred has been involved with art for quite a long time.

“I have been drawing since I was in first grade. One day I just picked up a pen and started drawing,” said Alfred.

Although he is also involved in 3D art, drawing is his favorite. There are also different things he is interested in.

“I like drawing different things, and I like how art looks after it’s done. Different things fascinate me; I like graffiti and murals that have a meaning or purpose,” said Alfred.

For Alfred and his family, art is difficult to stay away from.

“I have been to different art museums in Missouri and Alabama. It’s hard to avoid art,” said Alfred.

Mrs. Engelbrecht is truly helpful to all of her students. She is encouraging and supportive.

“Mrs. Engelbrecht gives great expert advice that really helps,” said Alfred.

Art also runs in Alfred’s family. He has two sisters, Taylor, who is fourteen, and Hav, who is ten. One of them even wants to be an artist when she grows up. They both love making friendship bracelets. Alfred spends time with his sisters by joining them in the bracelet making.

“I enjoy making bracelets with my sister. We made an armful of bracelets this summer. Some of them were for my parents, some for friends, but most of them were for ourselves. We’re bonding. Making bracelets is something we all enjoy doing, so why not spend time with each other making bracelets, ” said Alfred.

SARAH HOBSON
Art

Sarah Hobson, junior, has a great fondness for art. She started her high school art career by taking Exploring Art, Intermediate Drawing, and currently she is taking AP Drawing. Hobson has been drawing since she was a little kid, but she became more interested in it during freshman year. Her favorite thing to do is draw portraits, and her favorite style of art is impressionism.

“Although it sounds cliche, one of my favorite artists is Vincent van Gogh. I love impressionist paintings, and how distorted the artist can make it look,” Hobson said.

Mrs. Engelbrecht has made a positive impact on many high schoolers, and RHS has provided many opportunities to students, including Hobson.

“Mrs. Engelbrecht is awesome. She has pushed me to improve a lot. I have learned so much from her. My old school didn’t have a good art class, so the idea of a professional art class was amazing,” Hobson said.

Hobson has been greatly artistically influenced by her family. She has two siblings and a grandmother that are also involved in art.

“My older sister, Miranda Hobson, encourages me a lot too. She has taken professional college art classes. There is also my little brother, Max Hobson, who has been working on art for a while too. He is probably the reason I got so into art; we are so competitive with each other. It is a little bit of sibling rivalry,” Hobson said.

Hobson finds museums interesting and enjoys visiting them when she has the opportunity to.

“My grandma and I went to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art over the summer in Bentonville, Arkansas. She prefers still lifes, but my favorite section was the post impressionism. I also went to a couple of museums on a school trip to Washington, D.C., in seventh grade,” said Hobson.

One thing that sets Hobson apart from others art. It is not simply a hobby for her, it is also a relief from overwhelming aspects of life.

“I like how focused I get when I draw. Drawing in crowded places can help ward people away, because they think I’m busy. Also, it really helps with anxiety. I have social anxiety, and drawing helps calms my nerves, and gives me something else to focus on when I’m distressed,” Hobson said.

BRODY LIGHT
Music

Kids dream of making it big. They dream of being up on stage in front of thousands, maybe even millions of strangers who are there just to have a good time and enjoy some music. Many artist’s often start out from humble beginnings, and practice the art that they love just for pure enjoyment, but some take it farther. One local artist who is on the rise has set his sights of the big stage: Freshman Brody Light.

“For me, music started in preschool, we would start every day by singing silly little songs. My first performance was in Kindergarten, when I sang for the Wyman talent show. I honestly think my parents were more nervous than I was,” Light said.

Light is a participating member of Chamber choir at Rolla High School, All-District Honors Choir for Missouri, and part of of the community jazz choir. In addition to his singing, Light also plays various instruments, playing several ranging from strings to brass.

“I play guitar and trumpet mainly, but I’m learning a lot of other string instruments on my own, mainly bass and guitar,” Light said.

Light is fourth chair trumpet player in Symphonic band at Rolla High School, guitar player for the jazz ensemble at Rolla High School, and a part of the All-District Honors jazz ensemble. Light takes guitar lessons with Jason Adams at Merle’s Music once a week as well.

Light has many inspirations within his life, and has many people who have been there for him to cheer him on throughout the course of his musical career so far.

“I don’t have one big inspiration, really. Mr. Martin, Wyman’s music teacher while I was there, made music fun and exciting for me. My grandpa bought me my first guitar. He has always encouraged me and has always pushed me to do more. Ms. Nevel, the music teacher at the middle school, pushed me to sing more in choirs, and helped me build my reputation. My dad has worked extra jobs at times to get me the instruments, the funding, anything money wise that I have needed. My mom has hauled me around to the numerous practices for the four choirs, the three bands I’m in. I owe it to them for what I have today,” Light said.

Light uses his vocal and instrumental music as a way to deal with any hardships he experiences.

Light lives by a quote he created that is very near and dear to him. It helps him through the roughest times in his career.

“To keep from thirst, we have water. To keep from hunger, we have food. To keep from madness, we have music,” Light said.

“Music is my escape from everything. If I’m sad, I pick up my guitar and play for an hour or two until I feel better. I know whatever I’m dealing with is a big problem if music doesn’t help. Learning music is also like learning another language. Notes instead of words, singing instead of speaking. It’s a beautiful language that is the same in every country,” Light said.

Light feels like the stage is his home away from home. When he is up on stage performing, je feels he is as safe as he is at his own home.

“When you get up on stage and you have the crowd in front of you, you can leave all of your problems at the door. Nothing can touch you, bother you, or hurt you for however many minutes you are up there,” Light said.

ELIANA STANISLAWSKI
Art

Sophomore, Eliana Stanislawski, is currently enrolled in Intermediate Painting with Mrs. Engelbrecht. Previously, she took Beginner 2D Art at Rolla High School as a freshman. Stanislawski’s artwork was chosen for the Rolla Public Schools’ student artist display. The piece is at the RPS boardroom, and will be on display through the middle of February. She has been exposed to art since she was very young.

“In St. Pats, everyone had to take art classes starting when we were young, and I have been drawing ever since then,” Stanislawski said.

Stanislawski has a sibling that is interested in art, which has influence her..

“My older sister, Ariana, who graduated last year did a lot of art, and she inspired me to do it too. She was always drawing. One of her friends would come over and they would draw, and I would just think, ‘I want to do that too,’” said Stanislawski.

While Stanislawski is extremely talented and has created many beautiful pieces, there are still things that she wants to get better at.

“I specifically want to improve my painting, because I haven’t had many opportunities to expose myself to painting styles, like acrylic and oil painting. I’ve also been interested in pastels and charcoal. This year, there were a couple pieces I was particularly proud of. One was a printmaking piece, which is like a stamp. Another project I made was a bulldog collage, but my favorite piece of art was an acrylic painting I did of a pear,” Stanislawski said.

Engelbrecht is a favorite teacher to many art students including Stanislawski because she is positive and enthusiastic.

“Mrs. Engelbrecht is always pumping everyone up and she is very encouraging. She notices things in my art that I never would have myself. That gives me more pride in my work, and makes me more excited to finish it,” Stanislawski said.

Engelbrecht is proud of Stanislawski for the work she has done.

“Eliana has genius art skills! She can create lifelike compositions like many other young artists, but she can also communicate an idea and a message that resonates with her audience,” Engelbrecht said.

One of Stanislawski’s reasons for liking art is particularly unique. She was inspired by a saying of a past teacher.

“One of my English teachers used to say, ‘We write to be read,’ and that is something that has always stuck with me. Now, I implement that in my art. I try to finish my projects as something that would please other people. I make art for it to be seen, but I also enjoy it for myself,” Stanislawski said.

MORGAN KORICH
Music

Freshman, Morgan Korich is extremely busy. Some of the activities she is involved in are jazz choir, marching band, and cheerleading. She plays many instruments including the ukulele, the alto clarinet, and the saxophone. Korich has been interested in music every since she was young. She has been an active member of choir since fifth grade and band since seventh grade.

“I chose band and choir because I am so music oriented. I couldn’t find anything else that interested me, and my grandpa kept trying to persuade me to play the saxophone,” Korich said.

Being involved in so many organizations must be difficult, but Korich manages it well.

“I have band and choir during the day, cheer right after school until 5:30, and then I have jazz choir Saturday and Sunday. I’m not even sure how I manage it, but I do,” Korich said.

Brody Light, freshman and close friend of Korich, expresses his admiration.

“Morgan has got to be one of the most talented people I know. She writes some of her own stuff, balances cheer, band, choir, and still keeps great grades. Whenever something I’m working on is boring or I need help, she’s the first person that I turn to, always,” Light said.

Band and choir has an extremely supporting community that draws Korich in even more.

“The community is like a family for choir and band. If you are having a rough time, they will help you,” Korich said.

Music means a lot to Korich because it helps her get through hard times.

“Music is like an escape for me. It is like a best friend that will never betray you or leave you. You always have the ability to make music or listen to it. Music is always there to listen and help you understand whatever is going on in your life, whether it be sad, happy, or angry. It will never go anywhere,” Korich said.

Being a part of marching band has been a rewarding experience for Korich.

“I’m in marching band and they have helped me understand that that it doesn’t matter what other people say or what someone might think of me. It is still what I choose to do and nobody else can change my mind,” Korich said.

Korich wanted to add some advice for other students of Rolla High School.

“If anybody is having a hard time, and people are telling them they can’t do something, don’t listen and keep on keeping on because if you want something badly enough, and I mean truly want it, the amount of hard work you put in will pay off,” Korich said.

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Artist Spotlight: a few of Rolla High’s many talented artists