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CBH's Sophia Linn places in Junior Duck Stamp art contest

Published on Friday, April 28, 2023

artwork of ruddy duckA combined love for art and conservation helped this creative Cane Bay High student place in a lowcountry art contest.

Organized by the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, the South Carolina Junior Duck Stamp program is for K-12 students and integrates wildlife and nature education with visual arts curriculum. The artwork in the contest reflects the importance of wetlands and waterfowl, and challenges students’ knowledge of both to create a drawing or painting of one of the 46 native species of ducks, geese and swans to compete for a big prize: a commemorative federal stamp.

Sophia Linn, a junior at Cane Bay High, is being recognized for the colored pencil drawing she made of a male ruddy duck paddling in the water. She placed second in her age division – grades 10-12 – and was also the first overall winner in her group for her conservation message: “The nature has given us what we need, now it’s our obligation to restore, contribute, and conserve the beauty of it.”

Linn learned last week that she placed in the contest.

“It feels pretty incredible – I didn’t think I would win,” she said.

Linn is not currently enrolled in an art class, but is active in Cane Bay High’s National Art Honor Society, as well as the school’s art club, which is led by art teacher Shannon Hopkins. She is also a member of Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta.

Hopkins previously pushed out an advertisement for the art contest through the school’s morning announcements. Linn approached Hopkins with interest in submitting a piece.

“That’s the whole reason we have art club – to reach students who may not be in art class,” she said. Hopkins added she was glad Linn learned about the contest and said she wanted to participate.

Linn has a portfolio of artwork she did at her previous school. She particularly enjoys still life images, with pencil and colored pencil being her favorite medium, but she also loves animals.

“I have fish, parakeets and cats at home,” Linn said. “I have a pond in my backyard and every day I can see different kinds of ducks, and it just really made me want to participate in this.”

A male ruddy duck is distinguishable by its bill, which turns bright blue during the summer. Linn said she made about 15 sketches of the bird on paper before creating the final piece. She also took pictures of ripple effects in the pond behind her house for reference – a tactic Hopkins said she always tries to get her own AP art students to do.

Hopkins looks forward to having Linn in her art class next school year.

“I’m extremely proud of Sophia – especially for taking initiative to do this without a teacher pushing her,” she said, adding that National Art Honor Society members have to regularly attend art club meetings and, in order to graduate with the special honor cords, participate in at least two art contests. “Just for her to take that initiative on her own…it’s very mature and smart.” sophia linn

 Linn is also looking forward to having Hopkins as a teacher next year.

“I’m going to be so happy to have more time to do art,” Linn said.

Linn is considering studying architecture after high school. However, she is also very interested in science and is also considering studying dentistry; Linn said she particularly enjoys STEM education.

For placing in the contest, Linn is supposed to spend time at the Visitor Center in downtown Charleston with an artist in residence. Unfortunately, the event takes place during the school day and on a day when Linn has AP exams, so she cannot attend.

However, Linn said she plans on participating in the Junior Duck Stamp program next year, and will possibly try her hand in a similar contest run by Home Telecom that challenges art students from Berkeley County to submit artistic depictions of nature, historical scenes and local events from around the lowcountry.

Linn encourages her peers not to be afraid of submitting their artwork for contests.

“Don’t be scared because you never know if you’re going to win or not,” she said.