Piece by Oregon City resident Caitlynn Young, a junior, selected out of nearly 350,000 entries

"Autumn Leaves," a graphite drawing by La Salle Prep junior Caitlynn Young, has won a silver medal in the drawing and illustration category of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.

Works that earn medals in the national contest are considered the "most accomplished" student works in the nation. Fewer than 1 percent of the nearly 350,000 entries earned national medals in this year's competition, which was judged by creative professionals.

PHOTO COURTESY: LISA DANIELS - La Salle Prep junior Caitlynn Young proudly stands with her award-winning piece 'Autumn Leaves.'"It's really an honor," said Caitlynn, whose winning black-and-white work of art depicts a pile of fallen leaves illuminated by the sun. "I've always enjoyed drawing."

Caitlynn's drawing started as a class assignment to replicate a photograph. She spent six months on the project, working on it at her Oregon City home and at school whenever she could.

"You have to go through and do all the outlining first, and go over that with all the different shades," she said of her drawing. "It was a lot of detail-oriented work."

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program has "recognized the vision, ingenuity and talent of our nation's youth" since 1923. Over the years, the awards, which are presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, have gone to scores of young creatives who went on to become luminaries in their fields. Among them: artist Andy Warhol, actor Robert Redford, and writers Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath and Joyce Carol Oates.

Caitlynn's success "shines a light on your leadership, your faculty's efforts, and your school's dedication to education in creative arts," wrote Virginia McEnerney, the alliance's executive director, in a letter informing La Salle Prep of the award.

PHOTO COURTESY: LISA DANIELS - 'Autumn Leaves' is a graphite drawing by La Salle Prep junior Caitlynn Young.La Salle's arts program is indeed growing; under the leadership of art teacher Cha Asokan, the Catholic high school will launch an Advanced Placement Studio Art program next year.

Students, said Asokan, are "looking for many more opportunities to showcase their talent and build their skills as they grow as creative thinkers and artists."

"Autumn Leaves" is now on display in the Counseling Center of La Salle, which is on Southeast Fuller Road near Milwaukie. After that, the drawing will likely go on permanent display in Caitlynn's parents' house.

"I think they will find a place for it," she said.

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