Highlighting High School Students’ Unspoken Talents

Story and Photos by Anne Morsette

It’s never hard to showcase the youth with athletic potential around Ft. Berthold. There is so much talent and gifted youth in our community. What about the youth with inward potential and capabilities, such as literature and art skills? Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College students Irene Hale and Tiana Dubois organized a contest to give a special spotlight to such students so that they can display their poem and art skills in a showing held at the New Town High School.

The Poem and Art Showing was organized by NHSC students involved in a leadership program as part of their “Calm Before the Storm” initiative to get involved and inspire youth. Literature and art skills are skillsets that can be nurtured and developed into adulthood as lifelong skills. Five students participated in the showcase by submitting art pieces and/or poems. Art and writing are some of the oldest forms of self-expression. Along with that, others are able to relate to poems and art pieces as well. In her greeting to the participants at the showing, Director Irene Hale commented, “in the interest of youth expressing themselves, we have organized this for you [the youth] to participate in.” She went on to say, “it is important to listen to the voices of our youth, because they are our future.” Tiana Dubois, fellow NHSC student and organizer talked to the students and encouraged them to keep pursuing their literary and fine art gifts. “Words are powerful; imagine how many people you will inspire with your words and art”, commented Tiana. 

NHSC students Tiana Dubois and Irene Hale organized this event as an initiative to showcase students artistic and literacy gifts. The event was part of the college’s leadership program “Calm Before the Storm”
Melanie Keeswood, 16, took 3rd place overall with her digial art and poem piece. 
Kia Smith, 16, took first place with her art piece that expresses her hardships of loss, grief, and mental health.

There were five New Town High School students who submitted poem and/or art pieces to be displayed in the Poem and Art Showing on Monday November 29th. There were incentives for each participant, and each submission was graded in first through fifth place by the organizers. Each student won a gift card and a certificate. Two of the participants were present at the showing, and each got the opportunity to explain their art and poem pieces. Melanie Keeswood, 16, who’s submission got 3rd place, has been art since she was a young girl. She is now expanding her artistic abilities to digital art. Her art piece took over 36 hours to complete. It depicts an eye ball, with other eyes contained within it. Melanie hopes to connect with anyone who may be struggling through her art. Kia Smith, 16, has also been drawing and writing since she was a young girl. For Kia, art and writing have been her coping mechanisms during hardships in her life, such as loss, grief, and mental health. The FACS teacher Lorraine Eahley, who is also an artist in her spare time, was present to support the students and also encourage them to keep doing art and writing. Eahley remembers when Kia would draw little doodles on her assignments, and gave kind remarks about how much her abilities have blossomed since then.

Each student was awarded a certificate and incentive for their participation in the Poem and Art Showing. NHSC leadership students plan to continue these initiatives with the youth to encourage and help push young people to use their fine art skills. They are skills that one uses throughout their lifetime. Other submissions were “Daily Thoughts” by Judy White, sophomore; and Louann Chartier, a foreign exchange student, wrote two poems in French.


1st Kia Smith

2nd Marissa DeGroot

3rd Melanie Keeswood

4th Judy White

5th Louann Chartier