Friday, January 30, 2015

Creative distinction

Senior qualifies as finalist for 2015 Overture Awards

Juliana Discher | Staff Writer

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

For senior Katie Hibner, who was named a finalist two consecutive years for creative writing at the Overture Awards Scholarship Competition, her intelligence and creativity combination really paid off.

The Overture Awards is a program that recognizes, encourages and rewards excellence in the arts among students in grades 9-12. They offer scholarships in six artistic disciplines: creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theatre, visual arts, and vocal music.

According to Digital Image Design teacher Aaron Roberts, the Overture Awards are a highly selective process and achieving recognition as a finalist is no small honor.

“The entire process of Overtures is extremely challenging,” Roberts said. “The best young artists have their work and performances judged by professionals in their respective field. Because schools are limited to a certain number of competitors, this (competition) brings out only the best of the best. Each round obviously gets harder and harder.”

Hibner’s collection of poetry propelled her to advance past the semifinals.

Five other Mason High School students were named semifinalists at the Overture Awards
Scholarship Regional Competition on January 10. These students were: Ryley Arnold (Theatre/Musical Theatre), Sneha Gundavarpu (Dance/Ethnic/Folk Dance), Rebecca Shu (Instrumental Music/Piano), Julianne Su (Visual Arts/2D Art) and Alice Zhang (Visual Arts/2D Art). Hibner was the only one to move on to the final competition.

Hibner said her experience with the Overture Competition last year made her even more excited to be a finalist this year.

“Last year I got to read my poems on stage at the Aronoff Center as part of the final competition,” Hibner said. “That was pretty intimidating, but it was still really awesome to get the audience feedback and reaction right away.”

According to Hibner, she finds inspiration in English teacher Mandi Bross.

“Mrs. Bross always encourages me to write because I work with her through the school’s literary magazine, Writers’ Block,” Hibner said.

Bross said Hibner stands out as both a writer and a person of character.

“Katie is an outstanding representative of Mason High School, and not just because of her talent with the written word,” Bross said. “She is such a hard worker, constantly puts others ahead of herself, and is so humble. Katie has worked incredibly hard to succeed at this level of competition, and I can’t wait to see her come away with first place.”

The finals will take place at the end of February, where Hibner is competing for a $4,000 scholarship.
“I’m really hoping for the grand prize of $4,000 to help pay for college,” Hibner said. “I already get $1,000 just for being a finalist, but the extra money would be nice, too.”

Hibner said she is honored not only to be recognized for her work, but also to be among other Cincinnati student artists.

“I feel like it’s a really neat competition because I get to not only interact with other student writers in Cincinnati, but also other student artists,” Hibner said. “During the ceremony, we get to watch other students dance, sing, perform a musical instrument, or see their visual art. It’s nice to have a union of other student artists in Cincinnati. Plus, it’s really neat to get to share my work on stage at the Aronoff Center. That’s a huge honor.”

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