Lakewood Ranch High student shows off artwork; Tara Elementary principal nominated for Principal of the Year
| 6:00 a.m. February 3, 2016
+ Picture perfect
Morgan Mulholland found a way to make her dream of owning a black Labrador retriever come true.
The Lakewood Ranch High junior used watercolors to paint a photo of the dog she has been wanting. The portrait, which she titled "Kona," didn't stay with her long, though.
It generated $2,200, the highest amount of any artwork on display, during an auction at the annual HeArt & Soul Gala, held Jan. 30 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in downtown Bradenton.
"The portrait is of a family friend's dog that passed away," Mulholland said. "I thought he was so cute. He was a dog I'd like to have. I saw a picture of him and I wanted to paint him in that pose."
Mary Glass, the Manatee Education Foundation executive director, said Mulholland was among six East County students who had photographs and paintings on display at the auction, which generated $30,000.
She also won the People's Choice Award, which earned her $500. The high schooler hasn't decided how she'll use those dollars, yet.
"I don't usually paint animals," Mulholland said. "I like to paint people, but I'm really proud of this painting."
+ Class act
Principal Steven Royce has spent four years shaking things up at Tara Elementary School.
Since he started in 2012, he has helped Tara improve its School Accountability Grade from a D to an A, based on information from the Florida Department of Education.
Royce, a New York native who has worked for Manatee County for 21 years, was nominated for the Principal of the Year Award. He is among three principals statewide who were selected. Royce is the only Manatee County nominee for the award, which will be given Feb. 8 at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals.
The recipient of the award will receive $6,000 for his or her school.
"It's really exciting for myself and Tara Elementary," Royce said. "The award is recognition of the work students and staff do here. This is for everyone here who has been involved."