Standout student receives numerous awards at Scholastic Art Awards

High school athletes get a lot of attention, but the Scholastic Art Awards Show at the South Bend Museum of Art is giving high school artists who have dared to dream their moment in the spotlight.

Out of the thousands of pieces from area middle and high schools, 468 were chosen for the show and 147 will be sent on to a national competition in New York City.

Included in those are eight works of Garret Blad.

“Technically, he's spot on,” said Cheryl Phelan, chair of the Scholastic Art Awards. “He could probably run against students in college."

Blad goes to John Glenn High School, where the senior is no ordinary student. He admits that he is at home in the art room.

“It is incredibly relaxing, especially for me because I have a lot of things going on in my life," says Blad.

“A lot of things” is right. He just participated in the state Academic Decathlon, where his team placed third. Blad himself got the gold in math, bronze in music and placed third in his division.

But that’s not all; he is also in the school musical and is on the tennis team.

But Blad has two loves above all else: art and chemistry.

“For me, it’s not odd because I understand both and their separate parts… Kind of right brain, left brain,” explains Blad.

He has applied to Harvard, Yale and Notre Dame, but also to art schools in Maryland and Rhode Island. It could be a tough decision to make.

“I feel sorry for him,” said his art teacher John Thomas. “Because he's the DaVinci of the arts, he's into the sciences and the maths, and all this learning. He's got so many choices. Those choices make it hard on someone who's just 18 years old, deciding his future.”

Thomas says Blad is one of the best students he’s had in his 38 years of teaching.

“He has the skills, he has the hand skills, he has the vision. Plus his work ethic that makes him stand out above all his other classmates,” explains Thomas.

Thomas entered eight of Blad’s pieces into the Scholastic Show and all eight won awards, something quite unheard of.

And For this standout student, there is also a standout piece of art, "Awakened by Water."

The inspiration came from a Catholic youth rally and a revival of his faith.

“It took a long time because there's a lot of detail in it, but it was worth it,” says Blad.

In all, Blad received four gold key awards, three silvers and one honorable mention at the South Bend Museum of Art showcase. We’ll let you know how he does at nationals.

The Scholastic Art Awards Show runs until March 5 at the South Bend Museum of Art.

For more information on local efforts to promote young artists all year long, check out the South Bend Art Museums new education blog, just click here.

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