For the second time in as many years, New Canaan High School Visual Arts students have made their mark at the Connecticut Scholastic Art Awards in Hartford. Four NCHS students are top award Gold Key winners in the 2011 competition. One NCHS student earned an Honorable Mention.

The event's theme, "Celebrating the Creative Spirit of Connecticut Youth," focused on encouraging and recognizing students, rather than the competitive element.

According to a press release from the Connecticut Art Education Association, more than 30 artists, university faculty and professionals joined to review and select the finest student art works in many art media categories.

More than 140 schools participated this year. Out of more than 1,700 entries, 663 were exhibited, with 212 Gold Key awards.

Only artworks that received Gold Key, Silver Key or Honorable Mention awards were exhibited at Silpe Gallery, University of Hartford.

All three NCHS visual art teachers were represented by their students in this program. Isabel Glatthorn, a student of Lisa Floryshak-Windman, won a Gold Key in the Ceramics and Glass category. Christian Atherton, a student of Peter Kingsbury, earned an Honorable Mention in the Photography category. Joao Vickttor DeCarvalho, Henry Eschricht and Zachary Zannini, all students of Jeanne McDonagh, won Gold Keys in the Photography Portfolio category. Additionally, Eschrict and Zannini won scholarships to the Hartford Art School.

"Our students have consistently scored high with the Scholastic Awards, which is a testament to not only the talent of our students, but also the dedication and enthusiasm of our teaching staff," NCPS Visual and Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath said. "Our NCHS Visual Art Teachers Jeanne McDonagh, Lisa Floryshak-Windman and Peter Kingsbury are committed to helping our students find their creative voices. The NCPS Board of Education has provided our students with the necessary equipment (Mac Labs and software) and supplies, which when combined with outstanding teaching, gives our students educational, life-learning experiences that allows them the opportunity to reach the top of their craft."

In March, Gold Key winning artwork will be reviewed by a panel of judges at the national level. Selected national winners will attend an awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall and their artwork will be exhibited in New York City during the month of June.