Student art features of KCC’s Art Show and Poetry Slam

Senior Ian Ko performs at the art show.

Senior Ian Ko performs at the art show.

Graduating senior Gabe Reid’s artwork, entitled “Mountaintop,” is a powerful and poignant piece depicting African Americans scaling a steep slope, helping each other reach the top. The man at the lead looks over beyond the peak into a promising future past the mountain’s peak.

“The original drawing was just stick figure people climbing a mountain, it very simplistic,” Reid said. “But I thought later on maybe I should give them facial expressions and personalities as I developed the idea. I liked looking at the drawing a lot wondering what each character was thinking in the shot. Like the guy on the top is thinking like ‘I can almost see it!’ And guy falling near the bottom is like panicking but the girl behind him is like ‘I got you!’”

Gabe said the inspiration for his piece came from a trip he took back in January.

“I went to a Martin Luther King Jr. day event at MidAmerica Nazarene University and the theme of the event was based off of a quote from Dr King’s last speech, ‘He allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land!’ I combined the theme of that quote with the prompt for the art project which was about unity.”

Reid said he chose to showcase the piece, not necessarily for its appearance, but for what it represented.

“King’s words aren’t just about overcoming adversity, it’s about overcoming our adversity together; ‘that we as a people will get to the Promised Land’.” Reid said.

Reid said that currently, there’s a lot of division not only throughout all of America, but specifically in the black community as well, which is another aspect that inspired his piece.

“I think it’s important that we recognize that the most effective way to climb these obstacles is to climb them together, united as one,” Reid said.


Graduating senior Maddie Cates performed a humorous prose piece about four kids competing in a science fair in which she single handedly played at four of them.

“I felt pretty good about my performance,” Cates said. “I wasn’t super nervous about doing it but I was kind of scared I was going to fall off of the stage because the stage was so narrow and I’m not super graceful in heels!”

Cates chose the piece after trying to find a performance piece for forensics competitions over Christmas breaks.
“I just couldn’t seem to find one that I liked as much as the piece I took to state last year but then I found this one and absolutely loved it,” Cates said. “I thought I could have some fun forming the different characters.”

Cates will be competing with her piece at Forensics State Championship in May.


Junior Carolyn Shonkwiler performed a piece of poetry that she had written entitled “Mind Games,” a deeply vulnerable piece about Shonkwiler’s struggle with depression and anxiety.“I am a part of Writing Club at KCC, and I got the prompt there,” Shonkwiler said.

The club, led by English teacher Rachel Smith, meets once a week at Foo’s Frozen Custard where they are given various prompts to write over as they wish.

“Writing Club was how I got to know some people at KCC before I actually came to the school last August,” Shonkwiler said. “We got the prompt of ‘games’, and I kind of turned it into a metaphor using different types of games and relating them to my mental state.”

Before performing, Shonkwiler felt like throwing up as butterflies danced around in her stomach at the thought of sharing something so personal in front of a crowd.

“I didn’t look at the audience at all, I just stared at my sheet and tried my best to use my voice a little bit to emphasize the points that were important to me instead of worrying about all the people watching,” Shonkwiler said

Ultimately, she felt good about her performance, especially after all the encouraging feedback she received.

“Afterwards, I was relieved and felt like I had done something brave,” Shonkwiler said. “I got a lot of hugs and I love hugs more than most things. A lot of teachers that I look up to and even students that are such role models for me told me how their poem touched them and what they enjoyed about it, and that was a highlight for sure and made the nerves worth it.”

Shonkwiler said that despite feeling extremely vulnerable and exposed, that talking about mental health issues is an important experience she thinks more people should talk about.

“I think it’s important to share our struggles,” Shonkwiler said. “To tell others that they aren’t alone and I think sharing our hurt is also a step towards healing.”