MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 23, 2013

Teen’s artistic talents reap big rewards

MHS sophomore wins telephone directory contest

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— When Abigail Gray, a sophomore at Muskogee High School, sent her drawing in to Downey Publishing, she wasn’t expecting anything great to come of it.

“I’m surprised it won,” Abigail said. “I’m honored by it, though. I kind of rushed it because I had schoolwork to do. It was definitely not as great as I wanted it to be, and actually I wanted to throw it away at first.”

Abigail’s drawing was the grand prize winner of Downey Publishing’s “Art for Education” contest, and will be on the front cover of the 2013-14 Muskogee and Wagoner telephone directory.

Abigail was in her art class when the teacher, Sonya Foster, mentioned the contest. After some encouraging from Foster, Abigail said she brought the idea home, where her grandmother gave her an inspiring thought.

“She suggested I draw the overpass on Callahan Street,” she said. “Then she went and took a picture of it, and I took it from there. I drew it in pencil first, then filled in the colors I saw in the photograph.”

Brenda Gray, Abigail’s grandmother, said words could not explain how proud she is of her granddaughter.

“I know lots of people who want an autographed phone book when they come out,” she said. “I’ve told everyone I know about it. I think she does fabulous artwork. She has a room full of it.”

As the grand prize winner of the contest, Abigail also will receive a $500 Visa gift card. She said she is going to save that for a car.

“I don’t know what kind of car I’m going to get,” she said. “I guess one that runs is fine.”

Abigail also said winning this contest has piqued her interest in entering others.

“I’m really interested in doing contests now,” she said. “Mrs. Foster has inspired me to go above and beyond in everything I draw. There’s another contest at the school right now that I’ve got my eye on, and it might get me extra credit for my art class.”

Stephanie Scott, Abigail’s aunt, said she wasn’t surprised by the phone call notifying Abigail of the win, but Abigail was leery at first.

“When they made the call, she thought she was being punked,” Scott said.

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2809 or tsloat

@muskogeephoenix.com