Senior’s artwork advances to state


Senior Caroll Mays shows her state-winning artwork about abortion.

Story by Wynne Tidwell, Feature Editor

Seniors Caroll Mays and friend, Maggie Minter, are anxious, tired and bored. On top of this they had somehow found their way into a Toddlers and Tiaras re-enactment at Central Mall.

What once used to be the Christmas display and play pen, was now a beauty pageant for tots. Caroll looks around at the perfectly coiffed girls with their dainty curls and spray tanned bodies, not believing the amount of makeup caked onto their faces.

It’s 1:30– time couldn’t of gone by slower for Caroll. The events from the morning were scrambling through her head causing her a feeling of hopeful anticipation.

All of a sudden a lady bumps into her: “My babies up there, can I get in front of you?”


Caroll hasn’t the slightest interest in beauty pageants, right as she started to wonder what she was even doing here, her art teacher called.

Ms. Adair. That’s gotta be important.

“Caroll I’m looking at your art piece right now… you’re going to state.”

Caroll’s piece is simple enough: a glazed ceramic piece of a woman’s open belly, colorless with a baseball mitt, ballet slippers escaping the belly. On first glance one might not know what to think, perhaps a feeling of intrigue, but once the meaning sinks in the onlooker can’t help, but to be in awe. The piece is a manifestation of a growing social concern in today’s society–abortion.

“Everything with Caroll has meaning,” ceramics teacher Christy Adair said. “She created a powerful subject matter that gets attention and that’s definitely something the judges will look for. She had a great idea behind it.”

After the Christmas break, Adair gave her students the opportunity to do a piece over a social problem, so Caroll, a strong believer in pro-life, picked abortion.

“I definitely feel strongly about abortion,” Caroll said. “Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-choice, and in certain circumstances, I do think abortion is appropriate, but I’m more pro-life. Everyone deserves a chance. That’s why my piece has a woman’s open belly with the ballet slippers a baseball mitt and a stethoscope. You don’t know the potential your child could hold. Your child could have the cure for cancer.”

Caroll insist that her high moral standards concerning life aren’t religious based. Raised in a household split between Catholic and Pentecostal, Caroll grew up not attending either, and to this day, she is still undecided.

“I’m honestly not very religious. I don’t practice religion. I believe in God, but I don’t go to church,” Caroll said. “So my view on abortion comes from my own observations and morals.”

There isn’t doubt Caroll’s inspiration was strong fulcrum point to her awards, but getting there wasn’t so easy. Her piece was last minute: the sculpture was finished the prior to the Monday of competition, fired and glazed Wednesday then out of the kiln Friday, just a day before  competition.

Carroll still had to assemble and paint the sculpture. However, a series of unfortunate events  followed.  On Thursday afternoon Carroll went home from school with a 103 degree fever and a kidney infection.

She did everything she could–took medicine, went to the doctor and got as much sleep as possible. By Friday night she finally started to feel better, but the relief was only temporary and hours later she was back to her bed-ridden state.

“I was just like ‘wow’, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” Caroll said. “That Friday I had to drive up to the school, take the piece home and finish it there. I just told myself I had to get through it.”

Saturday morning Carroll was feeling all right. At 7:30 a.m. Caroll arrived at Pleasant Grove.
The winners aren’t just chosen based on the art work, but also a scheduled interview with a juror. Naturally, Caroll was one of the last to be called on.

“I was nervous at first, but my juror was actually really nice,” Caroll said. “She told me she was speechless and thought my sculpture was beautiful. I was very lucky she was woman. I’m not sure a man would’ve understood as much.”

Caroll came out all smiles and was sure she had nailed the interview. Now came the hard part: waiting. That’s how Maggie and Caroll found themselves at a beauty pageant. After lunch, they were just killing time.

“When Ms. Adair called, it was the best moment of my life,” Caroll said. “I screamed out how I was going to state and everyone in the crowd turned around and gave me a ‘shhh!’ Maggie and I didn’t care. We literally ran through the mall, back to the car and sped to PG. And I mean sped, Maggie was running all sorts of red lights. We were both so excited.”

Sprinting to the PG stadium Carol saw her piece, Anti-Abortion (named on the spot by Adair since Carol was sick), was adorned with two metals; a solid red for her perfect score (a four) and a red, white and blue for her advancement to state. Caroll is the first since 2010 to advance. Anti-Abortion was also her first ceramic piece.

“I’m definitely excited about state,” Caroll said. “ Despite whether I win or not, I know art is something that will stay with me my whole life.”

The list of 4s for the V.A.S.E competition include:  Celeste Dart, Joanne Lee, Sedric Martin, Sarah Hacker, Hannah Klopper, Krista Petty, Sha’Ti Sumpter, Tifffany Richardson, Oralia Basurto-ruiz, Hannah Cochran- (2) fours, Jordan Johnson  – (2) fours, Kayla McKee, Hannah Cochron, Maria Gabriel, Morgan Norfleet, Autumn Huckabee and  Preston Reed – (2) fours.