View original article by Caitlin Heaney West on

High school artists joined their families, teachers and friends Friday night in celebrating student talent at an opening reception and ceremony for the annual Art for All Seasons — Student Artist of the Month exhibit.

The Sunday Times and Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit hold the Art for All Seasons competition each year, inviting high-schoolers from across the region to design a piece of art focusing on a particular season. Each art teacher can submit one student piece per season for consideration, and a panel of judges then selects the 12 winners. Each winning piece tops the calendar page that runs on the last Sunday of the month in the newspaper’s Life&Times section.

The exhibit in the lobby of the Scranton Times Building, 149 Penn Ave., is open to the public weekdays during regular business hours through March, coinciding with Arts in Education Month.

This year, 50 students from 11 area schools participated. Winners received plaques and medals at a private reception where they heard from Kevin O’Neill, competition coordinator and Times-Tribune staff artist; Attorney Chris Powell of Powell Law, this year’s program sponsor; and Dr. Catherine Richmond-Cullen, of NEIU and an assistant professor of education at University of Scranton.

Powell noted that his office on Linden Street in Scranton is displaying the work and photo of a winning artist each month.

“We are so happy … to have that privilege of being the sponsor of Artist of the Month,” he said.

The winning student artwork

Forest City Regional High School senior Kara Kelly said she enjoyed getting to see her work alongside the other entries at the exhibit and compare them. This marked the first year she participated, and her wintry portrait in which she aimed to produce different textures nabbed her a win.

North Pocono High School senior Jenna Baljunas, meanwhile, won for the second year in a row, this time with a piece depicting the transformation of a monarch butterfly, a subject she knows well.

“Since elementary school, every single summer I’ve been saving monarchs,” she said.

Her mother, Carol Baljunas, said it was great to see her daughter rewarded for her hard work.

“I’ve very proud of her,” she said. “She expresses her love of the environment through her artwork.”

In starting the program 13 years ago, Richmond-Cullen explained, the newspaper and NEIU wanted to give creative students the same sort of recognition their athletic peers receive. The contest benefits students by giving them work for their portfolios, experience with a juried competition and an item for their resumes, according to O’Neill.

Richmond-Cullen also encouraged parents to let their children pursue artistic careers.

“The arts are a multi-billion industry in the United States. Globally, it’s even more than that,” she said. “Kids can make awesome, awesome, awesome careers in the arts.”

“Watch what happens,” Richmond-Cullen added, ”because they will be following their dreams.”

CAITLIN HEANEY WEST / STAFF PHOTO This year’s winning artists received plaques and medals.

Participating students

The 2020 Art for All Seasons — Student Artist of the Month competition included pieces from 50 students from 11 area schools:

Abington Heights High School

  • Tristan Burns
  • Alexa Ford*
  • Kylie Loughney
  • Makayla Keoonela
  • Olivia Marchetta
  • Paige Moletsky
  • Eisela Pasko
  • Hunter Wright

Dunmore High School

  • Angelina Bellucci
  • Briana Catanzaro
  • Maria Micciche
  • Hadassah Schork

Forest City Regional High School

  • Kendra Karwan
  • Kara Kelly*
  • Kaleigh Matoushek

Lackawanna Trail Junior-Senior High School

  • Victoria Fiorini
  • Paige Hyde*
  • Cullen Ratchford*
  • Taylor Vlassis

Lakeland Junior-Senior High School

  • Sierra Rohan

Mid Valley Secondary Center

  • Mikayla Dutkiewicz
  • Shawn Miller

North Pocono High School

  • Jenna Baljunas*
  • Bria Klingerman
  • Maya Kulick*
  • Kasey Portanova

Riverside Junior-Senior High School

  • Jessica Eiden
  • Cadence Havenstrite
  • Emily Padilla
  • Gabriella Scajkowski

Scranton High School

  • Julia Allen
  • Madison Barletta
  • Aubrey Bayley
  • Keasia Bennett
  • Kristi Gallagher
  • Laxuman Koirala*
  • Trish Nguyen
  • Jessica Sunar*

Western Wayne High School

  • Allison McDermott*
  • Kaitlyn McDonald
  • Sadie Nahman*
  • Shailyn Pugh*
  • Irene Sheehan
  • Cori Talarico
  • Anya Wayda
  • Abby Wilcox*

Wyoming Area Secondary Center

  • Brianna Dorsey
  • Nick Furcon
  • Jessica Martin
  • Sarah McGowan