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PSH senior Micaela Hughes wins Home Telecom art competition

Published on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023

micaela hughes artworkA colorful depiction of a bird snatching a fish from the water will grace the cover of Home Telecom’s new directory this year.

“Coronation of the King Fisher” by Philip Simmons High senior Micaela Hughes is the winning artwork in the Home Telecom 2023 Directory Art Challenge.

Home Telecom has challenged art students from Berkeley County School District to compete for the cover of the directory every year for the past nine years. The company looks for the best original artistic depictions of nature, historical scenes, and local events from the Lowcountry. Dozens of talented students ranging from elementary to high school, compete for the top award.

Hughes was introduced to the competition by her art teacher, Paige Duvall, and said she was very excited to learn she had won the competition.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” Hughes said. “She (Ms. Duvall) was so excited.”

The artwork is a reference to a bird known as a kingfisher; as its name would suggest, it enjoys snacking on fish. They dive headfirst into the water to grab their meal; Hughes's artwork shows a kingfisher fully submerged underwater during what appears to be a successful hunting excursion.

"We wanted something that represents the nature here...and we thought the kingfisher was beautiful and represented that really well," Hughes said.

She created the background of her piece out of marker while the actual fish, bird and bubbles were made out of color pencil, and some paint markers. It took her about three days to complete her work.

Hughes plans to study studio art at a collegiate level and wants to pursue a career involving her artistic talents.

In addition to having her artwork featured on the cover, Hughes also won $1,000 to be spent on art supplies – “which will be very helpful because I need art supplies for college,” she said.

“You have to go and get your own supplies (for college), and this is great because art supplies can be so expensive,” she said.

A press release from Home Telecom states that the company has awarded more than $5,700 in cash to the art departments of the three schools that have contest winners placing in any of the three categories. There is also a small donation made to schools who submitted artwork that receives an honorary mention. Over the past nine years, Home Telecom has contributed over $50,000 to art departments across the Berkeley County school system from this contest.

Ann Martinez, an eighth grader from Marrington Middle School of the Arts, took second place overall with her artwork titled “Berkeley Nature”. Hanahan Elementary fourth grader Amaya Mahalungkar Gamez won third place overall with her “Nightingales and Jessamines”.

Additionally, first, second and third place winners were also chosen for each grade category, including high school, middle school, and elementary school (see list below). Five students earned Honorable Mentions.

“The artistic talent we see every year in our annual Directory Art Challenge never fails to amaze us at Home Telecom,” Gina Shuler, vice president of Marketing at Home Telecom, said in the press release. “We are overwhelmed with the level of skill and the inspiration these creative students show every year. Choosing a single winner gets more difficult each year.”

Cassandra Cowdrey, Visual and Performing Arts coordinator for Berkeley County School District, said in the press release that she was very impressed by all the art submissions this year.

“To see so many students receiving an award is inspiring,” she said. “Inspiring for the future of fine arts in Berkeley County, inspiring for the future of visual art programs in our schools and inspiring that the students are going to be the reason for it all.”

second place winning artwork third place winning artwork
Pictured are the second (left) and third place winning pieces.

High school winners

First place: “Coronation of the King Fisher” by Micaela Hughes – Philip Simmons High

Second Place: “The Hatchling” by Olivia Koehler – Cane Bay High

Third place: “Arboles de Carolina de sur” by Emaline Keizer – Stratford High


Middle school winners

First place:   by Ann Martinez – Marrington Middle School of the Arts

Second place: “A Boykin’s Gift” by McKenna Judy – Cane Bay Middle

Third place: “Yellow Jasmine Breakfast” by Catherine Futch – Philip Simmons Middle


Elementary school winners

First place: “Nightingales and Jessamines” by Amaya Mahalungkar Gamez – Hanahan Elementary

Second place: “Geese on a Sunny Day” by Zofia Malcher – Westview Elementary

Third place: “The Bird of South Carolina” by Taylor Grace Landreth – Daniel Island School


Honorable Mentions

Tayquan Watson – Timberland High

Jennifer Lopez Solis – Hanahan Middle

Macie Baggett – Mount Holly Elementary

Ada Martinez – Howe Hall AIMS

Madison Sargent – Philip Simmons Elementary