Central High School Artist Chosen For Frist Exhibition

Central High School Artist Chosen For Frist Exhibition

Trinity Anthony’s painting, Internal Transfixation, was accepted for a show at the Frist Art Museum, in Nashville. (Submitted photo)

A Central High School senior has reached a goal many artists with more experience are still striving to accomplish: having their work displayed in a world-class art museum.

Trinity Anthony sent in four pieces to the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, unsure if even one would be selected for the Young Tennessee Artists exhibition.

“I wasn’t sure if anyone liked it,” she said about her piece entitled Internal Transfixation, which was selected for the show. Anthony said that because of COVID, she wasn’t able to get much feedback about the painting before submitting it to the Frist: “I was really surprised when it got in because no one was really able to comment on it.”

The piece is one of her favorites, she said, inspired by a previous traumatic accident that kept her away from her school and friends for half a year. Nearly six years ago, Anthony suffered a severe concussion after a fall.

“I was just stuck in my room for six months with nothing,” Anthony said of her recovery. “I couldn’t watch TV. I couldn’t read because the words just hurt. I had to have lights off all the time.”

It was then, in the darkness of her bedroom, alone, that she picked up drawing.

“I was able to draw things around me,” she said. “That was my only outlet to express myself and how I felt.”

When she was eventually cleared for 15 minutes of screen time per day, she utilized those periods by watching art videos and documentaries of artists to learn their techniques and improve her own skill.

“Once I got through all that, it really just blossomed,” Anthony said. “It’s an obsession.”

She has since had her work displayed in several art shows across her community, including the Knoxville Museum of Art East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibit, the Tennessee Valley Fair Art Show, and two Central High School art shows.

The young artist not only excels in her creativity and artistry, but also in academics and extracurriculars.

At Central High School, she is a member of the National Honor Society, was in the Science Club, created the Book Club, is the president of the Art Club, takes AP courses, and is studying for the ACT.

In her community, Anthony is a member of the National Art Honor Society, is on the Knox County Library Teen Advisory Board, completed an internship with The Bottom community center, worked as an apprentice at Beardsley Community Farm, and has been invited to be a part of a new arts collective in Knoxville.

Amanda Cagle, Anthony’s 7th-grade principal at South Doyle Middle School and now an assistant principal at Central, says Anthony “surpassed my thoughts of what you could do at that age.”

When reflecting on her success and growth as a young person, she said, “It feels very surreal, and it feels like an out-of-body experience. But it’s all very exciting.”

Anthony’s work will be displayed in the Frist Museum at the Conte Community Arts Gallery from Sept. 2, 2022 through Feb. 12, 2023.

Bearden Student Earns Solo Wings

Bearden Student Earns Solo Wings

Sarah Stanley, a sophomore at Bearden High School, recently completed her first solo flight and is pursuing her pilot’s license. (Submitted photo)

For many high school students, spring is the season to make memories at prom, in a school musical or on the graduation stage. But for a sophomore at Bearden High School, her most memorable achievement came in the air.

On April 16, Sarah Stanley logged her first solo flight, taking off from Island Home Airport in a Cessna 172 and flying for about 15 minutes before returning to the same airport. 

The short journey marked the culmination of a long process. Stanley, 16, got her start in a mechanics program for teenagers that was offered by the Skyranch Youth Aviation Program, in Alcoa. She met a flight instructor through Skyranch, and began taking lessons at the age of 13. 

For her first solo flight, Stanley received a scholarship from the F.L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, which helped cover the $1,600 cost by matching the funds that Stanely raised by washing planes and babysitting.

Stanley said the most challenging part of flying is the landing, but that her favorite part is the feeling of freedom that comes from being in the air, because “when you’re flying, all that matters is that you’re flying.”

“You don’t have to think about anything else that’s stressing you out or aggravating you … In my mind, it’s just like ‘That’s on the ground.’”

Stanley’s next goal is to earn her pilot’s license, and while she’s leaving her career options open, she hopes to continue flying: “I definitely want to keep doing that for as long as I can.”

According to aviation tradition, flight instructors commemorate a student’s first solo flight by cutting off their shirt tail, indicating that they can fly without direction. In the early days of aviation, instructors guided their students by tugging on the back of their shirts. (Submitted photo)
Farragut Student Chosen As Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate

Farragut Student Chosen As Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate

Melody Dalili, recently chosen as the Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate, said poetry is “a universal language.”

Melody Dalili has been writing poems for years, but she didn’t begin reciting them publicly until a spoken-word performance last August.

Since then, the Farragut High School junior has gotten several opportunities to perform her work, and this month her literary journey led to a groundbreaking honor – recognition as the City of Knoxville’s first Youth Poet Laureate!

Dalili has always loved poetry and has a collection on her phone with more than 250 poems, beginning with pieces that she wrote in the third grade. (Her first? A poem about two rabbits who were in love.)

She credited two sources with boosting her confidence as a writer: co-workers and leaders at The Muse, where she works, and Elizabeth Toth, her advanced creative writing teacher at FHS.

Dalili said she began performing after her manager at the Muse introduced her to an organizer of the SEEED Knoxville poetry slam, who invited her to participate in that event. “I was like ‘No, I love poetry but I would never say it out loud.’ And they said ‘Why don’t you just give it a shot?’”

That performance was last August, and it led to other spoken-word opportunities in the months since. At the same time, Dalili took Toth’s advanced creative writing class last year, and said the ELA teacher has been a constant support by attending her events, helping her craft a speech and staying after school to prepare for the Youth Poet Laureate competition.

“Being a teacher and really making that extra effort for one of your kids was a huge part in my journey here,” she said.

Toth said Dalili’s work is insightful and creative, and that when given a writing prompt during class, she would often ask if she could complete the assignment in poetry. 

“She is definitely immensely talented, she really draws from her own personal experience and her own feelings about people that are important to her and that have shaped her life,” Toth said.

Earlier this month, Dalili and Knoxville Poet Laureate Rhea Carmon shared a poem as part of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon’s budget address, the first of many appearances she will make as a literary ambassador for the city.

Asked why she loves poetry, Dalili said it is a universal language: “Poetry is just something with its arms wide open, and it’s just waiting for people to come in and join and to be united through our language. I really think that it’s just such a privilege to be able to be a part of that and to commemorate that in what I’m doing.”

Video: Watch Melody give a spoken-word performance on the KCS YouTube channel

Twin Sisters Share Academic Honors At Karns

Twin Sisters Share Academic Honors At Karns

Jeanne Seibel (left) and her twin sister, Emily, will be honored as co-valedictorians when the Karns High Class of 2022 graduates on May 27.

Jeanne and Emily Seibel grew up singing together in church, they’ve performed in musical theater productions together at Karns High School and in the fall they’ll attend Freed-Hardeman University together.

  • But before starting the next chapter of their lives, the fraternal twins will be honored together as co-valedictorians of the Karns High Class of 2022!

The achievement caps a stellar academic career for the sisters, who said they have always been best friends even though they aren’t exactly alike.

  • Emily Seibel has an aptitude for math and plans to major in the subject at Freed-Hardeman, while Jeanne Seibel was more inclined toward science and plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. 

And while both are efficient, they agreed that Emily’s highly organized approach to tasks – “I’m a total perfectionist” – is a contrast to Jeanne’s more laid-back style.

We help to bring out each other’s strengths and we complement each other in a lot of ways,” Jeanne said.

“Hopefully we cover up each others’ weaknesses too when we can,” Emily added.

Karns principal Brad Corum said that while the sisters are competitive they also cheer for each other, and described them as good ambassadors for their school.

  • “They’ve always been very good students and more importantly than that, they’re great people,” Corum said.

Emily and Jeanne Seibel, pictured holding childhood photos, said they have always been best friends.
South-Doyle Students Explore Career Options

South-Doyle Students Explore Career Options

Students from South-Doyle Middle School explored careers, practiced elevator speeches and learned how to dress for success at a career-themed event this week!

The “Get Hired” field trip included a career fair at the Sarah Simpson Center and programming at UTK’s Haslam College of Business, along with a scavenger hunt.

8th-graders Tamahj Martin and Benjamin Collins learned about careers including professional photography, and Collins said he wants to be a lawyer if a basketball career doesn’t work out.

  • Asked about his elevator speech, Collins had a strong pitch to potential employers in the legal field: “I’m very good at arguing. I like to help people get through stuff that’s hard for them.”

The event was led by the KCS CTE Department, Junior Achievement of East Tennessee and the Haslam College of Business, and the Tennessee Department of Education provided grant funding.

Digital Media Project Shares Inspiring Stories

Digital Media Project Shares Inspiring Stories

Led by ELA teacher Jade Jernigan (second from right), students at Gresham Middle School have helped create a series of videos that highlight stories about overcoming adversity. (From left, Asia Smith; Carlos Mata; teachers Alice McManus and Jernigan; and Maggie Wilson.)

For students at Gresham Middle School, a teacher’s effort to highlight inspiring Black History Month stories has also become a chance to sharpen their digital media skills.

In January, Gresham ELA teacher Jade Jernigan was looking for ways to infuse some “joy and passion” into a unit of readings on liberty and equality.

After brainstorming with fellow teacher Alice McManus, Jernigan began interviewing professionals from a variety of fields about overcoming adversity.

The project took off, and students began pitching in to help with nearly every aspect of the production: editing videos, writing questions, creating promotional thumbnails and even conducting interviews.

“This is the first time I think in my career where I have actively reached out to students for help instead of my colleagues,” she said. “And my kiddos have just risen to the occasion.”

Gresham student Carlos Mata has been a key contributor, and said the best part is seeing the finished product: “It may take a while to get something, but as soon as you get to it, it’s like a reward.”

Jernigan said the project gives students something to look forward to at the end of class, and has served as a bridge between classroom texts and real-life stories. As an example, she said a lesson about the impact of literacy on the life of Frederick Douglass echoed the lessons recounted by MMA fighter Rampage Jackson, who talked about the challenges he faced by not understanding the details of his legal contracts.

Asia Smith got the chance to interview syndicated radio host Barbie T, but said that when she sees famous people, “I don’t exactly go into fangirl phase.” “I keep it cool, basically,” she added with a laugh.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Jernigan and her students will be posting motivational success stories throughout March, and are planning to interview author Nikki Grimes.

And while celebrities may be intriguing, the students agreed that one of the most impactful interviews was with 6th-grade social studies teacher Vincent Dave, who talked about his efforts to promote Black history, and the adversity he overcame to become a teacher.

“I think it’s just uplifting, hearing how they’ve been able to go through many things and just come out successful,” said 8th-grader Maggie Wilson.