A Hawley High School student is paving her own path to success. 

Senior, Sally Stokes, earned $86,000 in scholarship money. $76,000 from McMurry University and $10,000 from the city of Abilene, to pursue art.

As the French artist, Henri Matisse, would say “creativity takes courage”, and that courage has earned Stokes, a way to take her artwork to the next level.

“We started entering more shows and stuff, we went to McMurry and they offered me a $76,000 scholarship, and then another $10,000 one,” Stokes said.

The reward has made the last four years of hardwork and dedication worth every stoke.

“We were also very interested in her, in part, because her art teacher spoke so highly of her. Evynee Cafey,” McMurry University art department chair, Kathie Walker-Millar said. “She actually came with her and brought her up here. Really encouraged her to apply for college.”

Thus, piquing their interest at this year’s Visual Arts Scholastic Event competition (V.A.S.E)

“It’s kind of like UIL. She made a 4 at the regional level, and she got to go to state,” Walker-Millar said.

Stokes explained she focused on world issues and humanity for her entry.

“This year, I’ve created a lot of pieces dealing with body issues, sex trafficking, animal cruelty,” Stokes said. “I painted my ear and then I wanted to do the background, the faces of the children and how I think most people forget about how it’s going on, so I wanted to kind of put them in the background, even though they shouldn’t be. We should be focusing on saving them.” 

Stokes said her high school art teacher, Mrs. Cafey has inspired her to become an art teacher, after she graduates from McMurry University. She also hopes to eventually own her own art studio.

The department hopes to recruit the next Pablo Picasso or Frida Kahlo into their art program, or even use their talent in science.

“Pre-professional art therapy. So, they’re majoring in art, and minoring in pyschology, preparing to go on and get their masters in art therapy,” Walker-Millar said.

Stokes just one of many students being added to the growing program.

“We have about 20 students doing computer art, graphic design, multimedia graphic design,” she continued. “Clay, painting, photography, drawing. Little jewelry design, mixed in there.”

McMurry University student, Jonah Garcia is already nearing the end of his freshman year.

“I always competed in high school,” Garcia explained. “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to come to McMurry.”

Garcia is a Perry Bently Art Scholarship recipient, like Stokes. Walker-Millar said is funded by the Community Foundation of Abilene.

“I want to go to graduate school. I want to be a professer, and of course do art on the side as a professor. It’s really important to me,” Garcia said.