Bryan Page, a fifth-grade student at Derby Ridge Elementary School, won first place for his pencil drawing of inventor Elijah McCoy, in his second year entering the U.S. Cellular Black History Month Art Competition.
When the contest began last year Page received second place for his portrait of Bessie Coleman, also a pencil drawing. Coleman was the first black woman to receive a pilot’s license.
U.S. Cellular sponsors the contest, in which first- through fifth-grade students in Columbia submit portraits in any medium of a black American they would like to honor.
“With February being Black History Month, we chose to promote the theme of diversity and making kids aware of how important diversity is,” said Lyndsy Holloway, U.S. Cellular store manager in Columbia.
Page, whose artwork of a dragon will appear on the cover of his school’s yearbook this year, said he has a passion for art because it’s challenging and an expressive outlet.
His pencil drawing of an underwater city has been on display in Japan through a sister-city program at Derby Ridge.
Page will receive a $500 bond, but said the money was not his main motivation for entering the contest.
“I also really wanted to challenge myself,” he said.
Jenny Yao, a third-grader at Paxton Keeley Elementary School, received a second-place award and a $200 U.S. Savings Bond for her crayon portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.
Mariah Haskins, a second-grade student at Cedar Ridge Elementary School, won third place and a $150 bond for her crayon drawing of poet Maya Angelou.