Talented Milne's artist Hazel is EIS calendar girl
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COVID may have closed the schools, but it has not stopped one local young artist's talent shining through.
Hazel Sherman, who is an S5 student at Milne's High School, has hurdled the challenges of lockdown to see one of her pieces of art feature in the national calendar for the EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union.
Her striking self-portrait beat off stiff competition from secondary schools across Scotland to claim one of the 12 slots in the full-colour calendar.
News that she had made the cut came as a very pleasant surprise for Hazel.
She said: "It was a very nice feeling when I heard I'd got in, it was a pleasant surprise.
"It's very satisfying to be recognised for the effort I put in.
"I first heard about the competition from my art teacher Ms [Aileen] Neillie and she submitted my entry. I thought I might stand a chance of getting in as it was important to believe in myself.
"My piece has been put in for June, which is nice as that's my dad's birthday."
There is still one thing to be settled though.
"I haven't named my piece yet – that'll be my next big challenge," Hazel explained.
"My inspiration for it was based on my own internal feelings as it's a very personal piece as a self-portrait.
"It took around a month to complete."
After being initially made aware of the opportunity to contribute to the calendar through the school's EIS rep, Ms Neillie opted to throw open the contest to senior students, in particular those who interested in developing a career in the arts.
Ms Neillie, who is PT art at Milne's, continued: "It is incredibly important that pupils at an early stage begin to understand that they must promote their work and use various methods available to do this.
"I thought it was particularly important to celebrate the success of our senior phase pupils due to the lockdown situation.
Hazel is an incredibly committed pupil who is unafraid of breaking away from the norm. She can challenge stereotypes and is able to portray ideas in an expressive but technically advanced way.
"Milne's as a school supports the arts and see the value in the subject. Both myself and co-worker Christina Young were graduates of Glasgow School of Art. Watching pupils develop their skill and understanding of the subject is still exciting for both of us. We get the opportunity to discuss ideas with each other and with pupils.
"It is a pleasure to be part of this."
Another delighted with Hazel's success was Milne's rector Trish Cameron, who held it up as a shining example of how students at the school are continuing to achieve despite the obstacles of lockdown.
She said: "This is a testament to the young people at Milne's and hazel in particular.
"We're living in unusual times and it would be so easy not to do things but that isn't the attitude we're trying to foster here at the school.
"At Milne's we want to foster ambition and attainment, our school vision hasn't changed just because we're in lockdown.
"Hazel has an aptitude for art and works hard to develop her skills, something she has since S1. She's a natural in the subject.
"It's easy find a lot of stuff out there which say negative things about young people but this is not the reality. Young people are trying to do good things and the schools here in Moray are doing great work to help them.
"To be picked out in a national competition like this is a huge achievement for Hazel and is well worth celebrating."
Hazel is in august company at Milne's when it comes to gracing the EIS calendar, which goes out to members all across Scotland. Two years ago Scott MacWilliam's work was chosen. He is currently studying a BA in Fashion Communication at Herriot Watt University.