This is the second installment of a series featuring the editorial staff members of your community newspaper, the Sedona Red Rock News.Most of the photographs anchoring the pages of the Sedona Red Rock News are shot by Tom Hood, one of Larson Newspapers’ two full-time photojournalists.

Tom Hood has been Sedona Red Rock News’ photojournalist since January 2010.After working 13 years for a Prescott area newspaper, Hood spent six years shooting for the Associated Press, a collective of more than 1,700 media outlets, newspapers and radio stations. He joined the Sedona Red Rock News in January.

Sedona Red Rock News staff photographer Tom Hood, shown in this self-portrait Saturday, June 19, worked as a news photographer in Prescott for 13 years before freelancing for the Associated Press Phoenix bureau for six years. Hood joined the News crew in January. Hood has built an impressive resume — he photographed President George W. Bush and Massachusetts Sen. and 2004 Democratic candidate John Kerry for a presidential debate in Phoenix and worked Super Bowl XLII capturing the New York Giants’ upset victory over the New England Patriots.

However, Hood describes himself as “a small-town kind of guy,” who prefers working with a close-knit community.

Born in Reading, Pa., in 1963, Hood moved to Geneva, Ill., at age 16. He graduated high school in 1982 and attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Hood moved to Arizona in 1987 looking for a job in radio. Having experience in print journalism, he took a position with the Prescott Courier in the production department. In 1989, a photojournalist position opened and management asked Hood to take it.

“I developed an eye really quickly. It was kind of natural for me,” Hood said. “In photo, you learn from other people’s stuff. In your down time, you look at other people’s photos and see what they’re doing.”

Hood and his ex-wife welcomed twin sons Jonathan and Tyler in 1996. His daughter Sarah was born in 1999.

Hood left the Prescott Courier in 2002 to pursue teaching. However, he said he missed photography almost immediately.

Shortly afterward, Hood received a letter from the Associated Press, with whom he had done some freelance work. The letter wished Hood well and asked if he would consider freelancing out of the Phoenix bureau.

“Once you start freelancing, all sorts of doors open,” Hood said.

Hood was soon busy with a full slate of photo assignments. He covered politicians and sports teams, traveled as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ team photographer and annually spent every day in March shooting Major League Baseball’s spring training.

He had multiple one-on-one photo shoots with U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] and shot a famous photograph of former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi

[R-District 1] celebrating an election victory with his father, Gen. Eugene Renzi, shortly before the latter’s death.

Along the Arizona-Mexico border, Hood photographed members of the Minutemen Project and flew in a Black Hawk helicopter with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary James M. Loy.

But Hood’s small-town sensibility became clear in 2003, when the AP sent Hood to Tuba City to cover the funeral of U.S. Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa.

Piestewa was severely injured when her convoy was ambushed in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Piestewa, two other female and four male soldiers were taken prisoner by insurgents, but she died of her wounds soon after.

In Tuba City, Hood approached Piestewa’s family and in conversation asked permission to shoot photos. An uncle told Hood to come back in a few hours. When he did, the neighborhood was surrounded by national media, but Hood alone was taken inside by the family.

Hood’s intimate and exclusive photos of Piestewa’s family in mourning were published in hundreds of publications nationwide.

“Knowing how to build that relationship comes from years of working in a small town,” Hood said.

Hood said he reshuffled his priorities after his father, mother and stepfather all died in a short period in 2007.

“The death of my parents and stepfather set me back,” Hood said.

Part of that change included moving to the Verde Valley to spend more time with his three children.

“My kids are my No. 1. There’s only a few years you really get to be with them,” Hood said. “This is a crucial time to have a family around.”

A new state mandate for volunteers affects Meals on Wheels, including the program operated through the Sedona Community Center.

Sedona Community Center Executive Director Susan BarringtonOn June 7, Susan Barrington, executive director for the center, received notification from Northern Arizona Council of Governments all volunteers need to go through a background check process and be fingerprinted. Once Barrington told her 150 volunteers who deliver meals to Sedona area seniors many declined to go through what they thought was a too extensive and too invasive of a process, Barrington said.

“NACOG covers the cost of the process but it still takes time, and it’s cumbersome and demanding. As of today we are down 80 percent with only about 15 volunteers to deliver food to our homebound seniors,” Barrington said.

Many of the center’s staff are taking time out to deliver some of the meals.

“I will not let our seniors go hungry because of a challenge people are having with our government,” Barrington said.

Barrington said she understands the reason for the mandate because people who receive meals are considered vulnerable adults. She also agrees the volunteers have a right to not go through the process.

“I want our seniors protected; I want them safe,” Barrington said. “This is a state mandate, but we have to get meals out.”

The center’s funding has no room to pay people to deliver the meals, which is what Barrington said may be necessary, so she is putting out a call for new volunteers.

“There’s no way we can deliver meals without our volunteers,” she said. “So we are desperate, literally, for new volunteers who are willing to go through the process so we can get hot, nutritious meals to our seniors who can’t provide for themselves.”

Bob Coates has delivered meals once a week for many years, following in the footsteps of his father, Joseph Coates, who delivered the meals in Philadelphia.

“I have no problem doing what needs to be done to continue delivering meals. Am I happy about it? No,” Coates said. “I do this for the seniors, plus every time I come back after delivering I have a smile on my face.”

Meals on Wheels is more than delivering food, Barrington said. It is also a wellness check on the seniors who receive the meals.

Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 20, Sedona Police Department volunteers visited the center and fingerprinted the 15 people who decided to continue with the program.

“The police volunteers waived their fees. That’s real community spirit,” Barrington said. “We’ll put the same thing together this weekend, if we get enough people interested. They can get all the forms and get fingerprinted right at the center.”

The paperwork must be notarized, and Barrington said she will try to arrange to have a notary on hand.

“We’ll do everything we can to make this a simple, painless process,” she said. “It’s about our seniors. The mandate is a done deal, so we just have to deal with it and keep feeding our seniors.”

For more information, call the Sedona Community Center at 282-2834.

Today’s teens, like generations before them, love to listen to music.

Unlike generations before them, though, they have more options than the radio, stereo, jukebox or eight-track player. Today’s teens have more personal ways to listen like MP3s, iPods, cell phones and portable CD players.

Several teens from Sedona recently had the chance to make music others will hopefully listen to through a Power of Music summer program at the Sedona Public Library.

The program allowed participants to write and record a song onto a CD that will be available for sale. Some of the proceeds will go back to the library for scholarships for next year’s program, instructor Barbara Hughes said.

Instructor Barbara Hughes, left, talks to teens, including guitarist John Williams, right,  of Camp Verde on June 10 during the Sedona Public Library’s Power of Music program. The program brings teens together to write and record a song that will be available for purchase.Hughes lives in New Hampshire but is a former Sedona resident. She returns to the city each year to conduct the Power of Music program in Sedona and Camp Verde.

“We’ve been writing as individuals, then the group decides on the best of what everyone wrote and combines them into a message. Then we put that to music. The whole point is to learn to collaborate, to respect everyone’s ideas and come up with what flows,” Hughes said as she tuned her guitar June 10. “I was blown away by the talent of the groups.”

The Sedona class was made possible through money donated for scholarships by the Sedona-Bell Rock Kiwanis Club.

Sophia Harness, right, of Sedona, sings while Demia Drewek listens while rehearsing during a Sedona Power of Music program at the Sedona Public Library on June 10.The eight Sedona teens — who attend Sedona Charter School, Sedona Red Rock High School, Verde Valley School or home schools — joined with students from Hughes’ Camp Verde class for a final run-through of the song they produced, which is based on using the voice to speak up and be heard. Some of the students play instruments and some sing.

The group recorded the song Saturday, June 12, in a studio with 1970s country singer Kenny Starr. The official release of the CD will be Wednesday, June 23, at a party on the outdoor patio at Relics between 6 and 10 p.m.

“We’ll perform the piece live that night, and have the CDs there for sale,” Hughes said. Afterward the CDs will be available at the Sedona Public Library.

Victoria Nabours, an incoming junior at Sedona Red Rock High School, said she heard about the class at school and wanted to learn how to write music. She plans to eventually write her own music.

“I’m a singer, and I’m learning guitar. This class has been very helpful, definitely,” Nabours said. “It’s about being able to express yourself.”

Sophia Harness, of Sedona, sings while rehearsing during a Sedona Power of Music program at the Sedona Public Library on June 10. The program brings teens together to write and record a song. The CD will be available for purchase with some of the proceeds going to back to the library for scholarships for next year’s program. Sean Bresnan attends Verde Valley School and will be a sophomore in the fall. He wants to pursue music as a career and takes many of the music classes that are offered at his school in the Village of Oak Creek. Bresnan plays electric guitar, violin, cello, piano, drums and occasionally sings.

“I was performing live and someone there mentioned this program. I thought it would be a good opportunity to play with other musicians and make a CD. I think it’s been a great way to spend my summer break,” Bresnan said.

Stylists will ship it to company that says it can be used in Gulf of Mexico

Got hair?

Some people trying to find a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico want it — not all of it, just the clippings from a haircut.

Matter of Trust, an ecological public charity established in 1998 in the San Francisco area, started a program to collect hair clippings and make them into panty hose-stuffed tubes to be formed into booms and placed along the coast to soak up the oil from the current spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hair stylists, from left, Judy Deans, Ron Peterson and Jerry Watkins hold nylons filled with hair  clippings Friday, June 4. The clippings will be sent to the Matter of Trust charity to help soak up oil from the current spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “We shampoo hair because it collects oil. It soaks up skin oils and grabs oil from pollution in the air, so it can soak up petroleum in oil spills,” West Sedona hair dresser Judy Deans said.

Deans and fellow hairdresser Jerry Watkins learned about the campaign to collect hair clippings for the Gulf over the Internet. They and their fellow hairdressers are collecting and packaging the clippings to send to Matter of Trust.

“They tried a boom made from the hair and panty hose in a pool of water. They put in a quart of oil and within 2½ minutes the hair soaked up the oil,” Deans said.

She said Matter of Trust is also making mats with the hair. After the mat absorbs the oil, they put worms on it, and the worms eat the whole thing. Then the worms can turn into compost, Deans said.

“That’s the ultimate recycling, in my mind,” she said.

Deans, Watkins and the others are putting out a challenge to all hair dressers and dog groomers in greater Sedona to collect the hair clippings and ship them to be used in the Gulf of Mexico.

“If they don’t want to ship the hair themselves, they can drop them off,” Deans said.

On April 20, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig approximately 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana exploded and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico’s waters. The oil has been leaking and spreading since, threatening the coast of several states.

According to a June 1 publication, BP has turned down the hair- and fur-filled booms. BP spokesman Ronald D. Rybarczyk said the company will use a synthetic boom it prefers to use for oil spills instead.

However, Deans said Matter of Trust is still going to collect the clippings and make the booms. They are also collecting fleece, feathers and nylon hosiery — all of which can absorb oil.

West Sedona salon stylists Judy Deans, left, and Ron Peterson share a laugh while stuffing nylons with hair clippings Friday, June 4. The clippings will be sent to the Matter of Trust charity to help soak up oil from the current spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “I checked out Matter of Trust, and we were looking for a charitable organization to donate to. This was a great one that will also help the environment,” Watkins said. “With regular booms they sit on top of the water. The hair booms sit lower and absorb more oil.”

Usually, the hair clippings are thrown away; now there’s something that it can be used for, he said.

“We’re not asking anyone for money, just the hair from their regular cut,” Deans said. “Doing something that will help the environment, or protect it is the best thing anyone can do — and with something you normally throw away.”

Watkins said what needs to take place to solve the oil spill problem is less red tape and more action.

“The world keeps shouting ‘green, green, green.’ Now here’s a green solution, why not use it?” Watkins said. “Plus it’s a renewable resource.”

When one woman came in for her regular haircut, Watkins said she told him to take an extra inch after they told her what they are doing with clippings.

Matter of Trust has had a Hair Clippings for Oil Spills program for several years and has been cleaning up oil spills in the San Francisco Bay Area using the booms. Currently, they are shipping clippings to warehouses in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

For information or to drop off clippings for shipment, call 282-2475.

Verde Valley residents are fortunate. When they want to look at the stars, they can. Some like to get a close view, a very close view.

Since most people cannot travel to the stars, Sirius Lookers Sedona Astronomy Club members bring the stars and planets closer through their telescopes. The group started in July 1994 with meetings at West Sedona School, but founder and President Dennis Young said the seeds began a few years earlier.

stars_in_the_sky_2_6-4“Russ Nidey and I connected and started the first astronomy club meetings in Cottonwood. We had close to 25 to 30 people. That was 1986,” Young said. Nidey died in April 2008. He was a professor at Yavapai College in Clarkdale for many years. He also was a physicist and the systems manager for the Space Division at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Nidey was a great resource for the Sirius Lookers, said Young, who helped found many astronomy groups especially within the Verde Valley and Sedona.

Young recently returned from the Riverside Telescope Makers convention held the second week of May. He went to see the newest items astronomers could get, especially for the club. Not everyone who comes to club meetings or events needs to have their own telescope. Many members have several they set up for people to look through.

The Sirius Lookers meet once a month on the third Wednesday at the Sedona Public Library, and have several events throughout the year. They usually go to the Two Trees Area near the city’s wastewater treatment plant between Sedona and Cottonwood off Forest Road 525 for an observing session.

“It’s a great area and relatively free of lights,” Young said. “We also had a lot of fun events at Red Rock State Park.”

Sirius Lookers encourages people of all ages to join the club or enjoy the events. The curiosity of looking up is the only fee, Young said.

“Our purpose is public awareness of science in the public’s eye,” he said. “We’re here to have fun, promote science and to look at the night sky.”

The next meeting at the library will be Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. The next event will be observing the Perseids meteor shower on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 12 and 13, at the Two Trees.

One of the group’s biggest events is coming up Saturday, June 5, at the Grand Canyon. Each year several members of the Sedona club, along with those in the Verde Valley and Flagstaff, join a club from Tucson at Yavapai Point for the Grand Canyon Star Party. They set up about 60 telescopes and allow anyone who comes to view the stars and planets.

“It’s always on the new moon in June, which is June 5 this year. We’ll be there one week,” Young said.

People from around the world come to this event, he said. Sometimes as many as 1,000 people come by on a single night.

“It’s not just looking at the stars, it’s learning about them and events that happen celestially,” Young said. “For example, when the Shoemaker-Levy comet hit Jupiter [from] July 16 to July 22, 1994, it was the most observed [celestial] event in history. Even the smallest telescope could see impact stars.”

People are fascinated with the stars and space, wondering what is out there — and wanting to see far-away objects more clearly, Young said.

Astronomy offers people a chance to see something they cannot with the naked eye, something they’ve only seen on television.

“You can’t experience something you’ve only seen on television. Once you go out and look with your own eyes, see it through a telescope, you can’t replace it. Like shooting stars, no matter how often you see one you still gasp,” Young said.

Many people gasped often when the comet

The comet Hale-Bopp passes over the red rocks when the comet was visible from Earth in 1997. The Sirius Lookers Sedona Astronomy Club brings enthusiasts together to admire the night sky. The club meets monthly at the Sedona Public Library.Hale-Bopp passed by Earth in 1997. It was visible to the naked eye on the low horizon in the evening and overhead in the very early morning.

The Sirius Lookers also travel around the state to large telescope sites such as Mount Graham near Safford, where there is a large binocular telescope, which Young said is the largest one in the world.

“It’s 8.4 meters. With the two of them working together the light grasp is about 12 meters,” Young said.

Another favorite spot is Kitt Peak near Tucson, which has several telescopes for both nighttime and daytime observing. Arizona has more telescopes than any other state and each is unique with some type of specialty, Young said.

“They look for sky condition, steadiness of the air, pollution, accessibility and clear skies. Arizona is good in all of those areas,” he said. “I’ve actually been able to see Jupiter, Mercury and Mars — during the day because I know the location. The conditions are that good.”

Young and other members of the group are looking forward to the newest large telescope coming to Arizona near Happy Jack, about 18 miles east of Lake Montezuma. The Discovery Channel has constructed a building there and will soon install a telescope mirror approximately 14 feet in diameter that is 10 inches thick and weighs about 6,700 pounds.

“I was giving a talk a few years ago about astronomy in Arizona and the organizers told me there was a man in the audience who was inspired by my talk. It turned out to be the president of the Discovery Channel,” Young said with an excited voice.

New district offices will be built on the old school’s site

In 1910, the small community of Sedona opened a school.

Families in the area drove to Flagstaff to bring back supplies to build the school on land Frank Owenby Sr. leased for $1 a year, according to a report in the Edith [Smith] Denton Collection at the Sedona Heritage Museum.

brewer_school_in_1918Once the schoolhouse was built, 10 children made their way to class: Lloyd, Dally and Iva Van Deren; Myron, Edward and Lindsay Loy; Henry and Lum Farley; Frank Owenby Jr. and Lewis Thompson.

The first teacher, Georgia Tomlinson, did not stay long. Olga Thompson took over but had a baby and quit so Charley Stemmer finished the year as teacher, according to Denton.

By 1914 the school was too small, and rooms were added. The late 1930s saw the school with three rooms, an auditorium made of native rock, flush toilets and a drinking fountain.

In 1937, a training shop was built with electric saws, lathes and other tools.

“Mr. [Alfred] Freestone taught the boys woodworking and Mrs. [Orvo Elizabeth] Freestone taught the girls to knit, crochet and sew,” Smith wrote.

Lightning struck and destroyed the school July 26, 1948. The following semester, students attended classes at the ranger station across the street.

Workers were in the process of adding more classrooms, and just extended the construction, Walter E. Jordan Jr., aka Sonny, said.

Jordan was in the class at the station.

“We’d liked to have froze to death in that old barn,” he said.

brewer_school_in_2010Learning at the Brewer School went on uninterrupted until the mid-1960s. In 1966, an article in the Sedona Red Rock News reported on an open house at the school to celebrate another addition. Today, the building is the home of the Sedona-Oak Creek School District administration office, at least until August when the building will be razed.

On Saturday, June 12, from 2 to 7 p.m., former students are hosting a reunion for anyone who attended Brewer School.

Ruth Van Epps, Jordan’s sister, went to the Brewer School in the mid-1940s. In 1946 and 1947 she was taught by her mother, Ruth Jordan.

“When the bell on top of the tower rang we knew we had to go inside right away,” Van Epps said. The bell also called people to 4-H meetings, gatherings, dances and Sunday school, she said.

Van Epps remembers a couple of times she missed class. At noon the children played “cops and robbers.” The robbers hid among the nearby rocks and the cops would come find them. One day Van Epps was never found. When she finally went back, it was 2:30 p.m.

“Mrs. Fern put an abrupt end to my robber career,” Van Epps said and laughed.

At another time, Van Epps was not tall enough to reach the top rung of the monkey bars. She found a way, though, by swinging high in a swing, reaching out and grabbing the bar. One day she missed.

“The next thing I knew Granny Brewer had me under the water faucet trying to get me to wake up. I was out of school for a few days,” Van Epps said.

Van Epps said the kids would use a sore throat excuse to get out of class.

“If you had a sore throat you went to Granny Brewer. She sat down on a chair, pushed her dress down between her knees and pulled you in. Then she’d lock her legs behind you and swab your throat with Merthiolate. Kids didn’t get a sore throat often,” Van Epps said.

The auditorium saw many plays and performances and was also the place for holiday parties.

“Halloween was outstanding. Uncle George [Jordan] liked to invent things. We’d enter the school and he’d greet us all dressed as a ghoul,” Van Epps said. “He’d decorated the whole place. There were a lot of screams coming out of there but nothing to hurt anybody.”

When West Sedona School opened in the fall of 1972, some Brewer School students transferred to the new school.

The district will build new offices on the site after the building is demolished.

Woman wanted to do the climb while she is still in shape

mt._kilimanjaro_hikerPart-time Sedona resident, Helga Ausman, 78, didn’t think about George Mallory’s 1924 retort to the question, “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” as she began to ascend the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mallory’s response is probably the most famous quote in mountain climbing — “Because it’s there.” He is said to have spoken the words just prior to planning his first attempt to conquer the world’s tallest mountain peak at 29,029 feet.

He and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, disappeared on the north slope some time during their expedition. Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999, only a few hundred meters from the summit.

Ausman was not among the first to attempt Mount Kilimanjaro, but she is reportedly the second-oldest woman to reach the 19,340-foot summit and return under her own power.

“Nothing happens by coincidence. Someone up there is pulling the strings,” Ausman said. “Even this Kilimanjaro thing — it’s a fabulous story, how it came about.”

Ausman is an avid hiker. She joins the Sedona Westerners hiking group whenever she is in Sedona and has hiked most of the surrounding trails.

When she is not in Sedona she spends her time between Austin, Texas, and San Francisco. She has grandchildren in both cities.

About four years ago, Ausman decided to go with a group to hike near Mount Shasta in Northern California but ended up climbing the mountain.

“I was surrounded by experienced mountaineers. I was a hiker and ended up with them by accident. I got with the wrong group,” Ausman said. “They helped me reach the top. The whole time they talked about Mount Kilimanjaro and thought I should go. I told them I didn’t think I could do it.”

Well, the thought crossed Ausman’s mind several times over the following four years — until January when the mountain kept creeping into her life in various ways. Ausman had been to Africa many times but never climbed a mountain there.

“I decided I’d better go while I was still fit. Two weeks after I signed up they e-mailed me for a medical certificate stating that I was fit to go,” Ausman said and laughed. “I think it was just because of my age.”

Before leaving, Ausman had to buy several medications, including one for altitude sickness. A person can train physically but not for the altitude, she said.

“They told me about 16 people die every year on the mountain, but thank goodness I didn’t know that until I came down,” Ausman said.

The first two nights in Africa, the eight men and three women in Ausman’s group stayed in tropical-style lodges. Tanzania is only a few degrees latitude south of the equator.

The climb began the morning of the third day.

“They took us by Jeep to the trailhead outside of Moshi. Again, I told the leader I didn’t think I could do it. He said, ‘Don’t worry. You’re German and I’ve never had a German not make it to the top,’” Ausman said.

Most of the group were in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Ausman was the only grandmother so the porters nicknamed her “Bibi,” which means “grandmother” in Swahili.

“I was called Bibi for three weeks and they pampered me,” she said.

Ausman’s group climbed six to eight hours every day, and took seven days to go from the jungle to the snowy peak. Moshi in January is approximately 85 degrees. The top of Mount Kilimanjaro in January is from zero to minus 8 degrees at night.

Fortunately, the porters carried the major weight and a lot of food. Ausman said the group was very well fed because of the energy needed to climb the mountain.

“The higher we got, the harder it was to breathe and to walk. We barely took steps at times, but when we reached the top it was very spiritual. There’s snow and icy glaciers. It was 20 degrees and windy, but you had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Only about 40 percent make it to the top, and we all did,” Ausman said.

“Going down was much more difficult. First, you’re very weak and exhausted. Second, you want to go down as fast as possible, but that’s when it’s dangerous," she said.

There is loose rocky debris on the mountain, increasing the possibility of sliding and falling while descending. The urge to descend quickly is strong but it can exhaust a person.

Back at the bottom, during an evening ceremony, each person was called by name to receive a certificate for a successful climb. When Ausman’s name was called, the porters hoisted her on their shoulders and danced around the lodge shouting “Bibi, Bibi,” Ausman said as she danced around her living room demonstrating what the porters did. “It was so heartwarming.”

Although the trip was physically exhausting — Ausman lost eight pounds — and expensive, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was worth every sore muscle, labored breath and dollar she spent.

“Oh heaven’s yes, it was well worth it,” Ausman said and closed her eyes as she relaxed back into her chair.

Sometimes it is astounding to see the high level of talent our young people possess.

People in Sedona and the Verde Valley will have a chance to see what art students created during the past few months at the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society’s 20th annual Student Art Show on Saturday, May 8, and Sunday, May 9.

northern_arizona_watercolor_society_student_art_showStudents in art, photography, ceramics, jewelry and sculpture classes from 17 area schools in grades seven through 12 have their works on display at the Sedona Red Rock High School cafeteria, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.

“We have more than 500 students entering their work from the middle schools and high schools. The show is our big event for the kids to encourage them to continue with the art. I’ve been an art teacher and our group likes to do this,” show chairwoman Sue Davis said. “They represent about 14 different mediums.”

The pieces were judged Tuesday, May 4, and awards will be presented at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, in several categories, including Best of Show and People’s Choice, along with several first prizes, many including money.

First place for a junior or senior is $100, for a sophomore or freshman it is $75, and first place for a seventh- or eighth-grade student is $50.

Under the guidance of Sedona Red Rock High School art teacher Geoff Worssam and photography teacher Mal Cooper, more than 150 SRRHS students entered the show.

“Personally, I’ve had students enter since the show started. I taught at the school on Brewer Road, then Big Park and now here,” Worssam said. “It’s the biggest show in Northern Arizona, and our students usually show well.”

Cooper said about 12 of her students entered the show, and she thinks they will do fairly well.

“I have one student who is going to the London School of Photography next year,” Cooper said.

Tyler Novak, the art teacher at Mingus Union High School, is very excited about Cottonwood’s 80 students who took their works to the show.

“There are three of us teaching the art category in art, sculpture, ceramics and photography. We expect to do well. We have some incredible artists,” Novak said. “I think a lot of it is our students are very dedicated with their work and take pride in what they do.”

After the show, the winning pieces will go to M&I Bank in West Sedona where they will be on display for two weeks, Davis said.

The Student Art Show began with the Arizona State University alumni group in Sedona. Approximately five ago, NAWS took it over, but the alumni still donate $400 toward prizes.

In their efforts to promote art in youth, NAWS gives two scholarships each year to a student who present three of his or her art pieces for consideration. The winners receive $500 to the college of their choice.

Sedona and Verde Valley schools participating in the Student Art Show include SRRHS, MUHS and Camp Verde High Schools, American Heritage Academy, Sedona Charter School, Verde Valley School, New Visions Academy, Rimrock Public High School, Beaver Creek School, Cottonwood Middle School, West Sedona School and Big Park Community School.

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