ATEMS Storybook Project shines a light on students and their artwork


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Every year ATEMS High School works alongside the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature to present the ATEMS Storybook Project.

“I find it such an honor to have that experience. The idea that someone can look at it and go, I could be a professional artist, this can be my career,” said ATEMS art student Kierstyn Bell.

As part of the ATEMS Storybook Project, English and art student put their minds together to create children’s storybooks. After all their hard work the storybooks are put on display in Downtown Abilene.

“I think that’s invaluable for our kids, to realize that what they do in class is going to be noticed by the general public,” said ATEMS High School Principal Jeff Howle.

This year’s theme is overcoming fear, and the NCCIL’s Trish Dressen says these students hit it out of the park.

“Every year we’ve just marveled at these talented kids, who not only write these incredible stories but illustrate them so beautifully, to the caliber of the national and international artists that we’ve hosted,” said Dressen.

Despite not physically being in class, there are plenty of remote learners who have their storybooks on display as well.

“They would of course zoom into class and I would do live demos on the zoom of what I project on the board, that they could also see at home. They would follow along, and then towards the end of the project, they then actually brought their artworks back up here, and they would email me pictures back and forth for feedback,” said ATEMS High School Art Teacher Riley Scroggins.

One student says having her work on display at the NCCIL has the power to inspire kids in Abilene to develop a passion for art, and help tell the world why Abilene is known as the Storybook Capital of America.

“Tonight’s like these are very important because it shows what we can do. As teenagers, we have the look on us by adults like, oh you’re a teenager you don’t really know what you want to do, but if you look around, we know what we want to do,” said Bell.

The storybooks created by the students at ATEMS will be on display at the NCCIL until the end of the year.

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