Gering student will represent Nebraska in federal duck stamp competition

March 23, 2019

SCOTTSBLUFF — Jada Schlothauer, an eighth-grader at Gering Junior High, had more poker chips in front of her illustration of a green winged teal duck Friday than any of the other illustrations in the room Friday.

Artwork of native North American ducks were placed around tables in the conference room at Educational Service Unit #13 in Scottsbluff.

Five judges placed Federal Junior Duck Stamp poker chips on their selections in the kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth, seventh through ninth, and 10-12 grade groups.

Michelle Denton was one of the judges for the state duck stamp contest and said she made selections based on color separation, the size of the duck and artistry.

“Traditionally, you see side views of the ducks,” she said. “Sometimes, they will try different angles, which I like. The art has to be pretty strong.”

Denton added how the program involves a combination of art and a conservation message.

“I hope they look at the birds with more appreciation.”

Mary Hunt has visited schools across the Panhandle to help students draw depictions of North American birds as well as the environments where they are found. While Hunt has worked alongside Denton teaching students how to take their duck drawings and make them realistic, she has never had one of her students win the state contest until this year.

From all the entries, three first place, second place and third place winners were selected as well as 16 honorable mentions.

With the top 12 duck illustrations from all age groups chosen, the judges selected the Best of Show.

This year’s Best of Show was awarded to Schlothauer’s illustration of a green winged teal duck, using acrylic as a medium.

“She has improved dramatically from each year to the next,” said Hunt. “I hope she keeps at it. I would encourage her to continue doing art.”

After the winner was selected, Hunt notified Schlothauer’s grandfather, George.

“The first thing I said to him was, ‘Are you sitting down?’” said Hunt. “After I told him, he said, ‘Are you serious?’”

While Schlothauer was in school when she was selected as the state winner, she said she received a text message from her grandfather.

“I’m pretty happy,” Schlothauer said. “Last year, I lost to someone from Mitchell.”

The 2018 competition was her first time competing in the duck stamp contest and as she prepared this year’s duck, she was proud of her work.

“Art is a good way to get feelings onto a canvas and your inspirations on a canvas,” she said.

The national winner will have their artwork made into a 1.5 inch by 1 inch stamp.