RHS Freshman Delaney shines in best prep art Competition


February 11, 2023

John with his framed certificate and painting

by Jeff Olsen

Never pass up an opportunity is John Delaney's take on his education.

When he was handed a flyer by his Art 1 instructor Mary Vatnsdal, he didn't crumple it up and toss it into the trash can.

It perked his curiosity and his competitiveness.

John, the son of Shane and Carrie Delaney, decided to enter the Best Prep 2023 Student Spotlight Competition for Minnesota students in grades 9-12.

It made sense since he likes drawing and, even better, there was a chance to win some prizes.

He's a busy lad.

"I'm in cross country, One Act Play, and Knowledge Bowl," he said a week ago Friday evening.

He's also an A Honor Roll student with a flair for drawing.

A tall lad just over six feet, he adheres to the motto of "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Plus, he was on limited time to complete the project.

"I worked on it at home a little bit every night for about a week as I didn't have too many days left to submit my entry after I heard about the competition."

John was feeling great after he achieved the Top 20 ranking of all the submitted paintings - mostly from the Twin Cities area.

"I got a certificate and a $50 Target gift card," he said, explaining that he had to fill out a form that included his name, school, grade, an image of his drawing, and the type of painting it was.

He then emailed his entry with the photo of his drawing, entitled "The Hopeful Garden."

He learned about the contest shortly before Thanksgiving and deadline was approximately the first week of December.

He made 50 bucks.

"I think I was the only one from Roseau, but I'm not sure," he said.

He made the Top 20.

They didn't tell him what place. It was from sixth to twentieth.

"He wasn't in the top five," said his mom, Carrie.

He was asked about his entry.

"It's a picnic kind of scene with some flowers and two kids and one of them is reading a book," he said.

The theme for the contest was imagining a better future.

"So, I drew like a history textbook with the two pages showing 'Renewable Revolution.' Basically, the painting was on renewable energy."

Ever get upset with a painting and start over?

"Sometimes when the perspective isn't working, and I can't get the angle right," he said, explaining that he uses water color paints and a colored pencil.

"I used a pencil to do an outline first, and then I used water color paints."

Carrie Delaney remarked that there was a banquet in the Twin Cities to honor the top twenty participants.

"He wasn't able to go because it was on a Wednesday afternoon in December."

Possibly, they didn't expect someone up near the Canadian border to enter the contest.

"I don't think they did," said a chuckling Carrie Delaney.

John is glad he did!


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