Guy grows through art

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

Madelyn Guy is a lifelong resident of Columbiana, who can’t remember a time when she didn’t express herself through art—and as a high school senior this year at Shelby County High School, she’s using it to grow into the next phase of her life.

Guy, a well-rounded student, has participated in sports such as softball and track, has served in her church, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Art Club and Future Farmers of America, and has worked at Tin Top BBQ for the last year.

She’s used these experiences to hone her leadership skills. Her FFA advisor, Dustin Clecker, said, “Madelyn is one of the best students that I have ever taught.” He added that during her time in FFA she always had great ideas for the chapter and a strong work ethic to back up the ideas.

Guy said FFA helped her get over her fear of public speaking, and what an honor it has been her senior year to help with the plans for the new Working Wildcat garden, a project that brought FFA students and special needs students together in collaboration to create a bigger and broader classroom experience for both.

Art, however, is an area where she perhaps flourishes most visibly. Influenced by her dad at a young age, she has always created. The second oldest of a blended family, art is often how she worked through the struggles of those early teen years that everyone experiences.

In her AP art portfolio, she used very detailed drawings of birds to convey different meanings. For instance she used hummingbirds, owls and other birds in symbolic ways, and their use has in many ways become a signature of her art as her work progresses.

As Guy talked about her art experience, she couldn’t help but express her appreciation of her art teacher Michelle Branson: “Mrs. Branson really helped me by pushing me to enter into competitions and focus on deadlines, so I became more organized.”

In turn, Branson had thoughts about her student this year. “Madelyn has always been wildly talented, but also hard working and open to feedback about her work,” she told the audience at awards day. “She has what it takes not only to create art that is aesthetically pleasing and technically sound, but also thought provoking with a clear narrative.”

All of these things combined, brought Guy to the decision to pursue art in her college career. She’s set to study marketing with a minor in art this fall at Jacksonville State University. “I don’t think I could ever do a regular office job,” Guy said. “It would be weird not to be involved in art in some way as I figure out my career path.”

As an honor graduate in the top 10 of her class and with a scholarship to her school of choice, she’s well on her way.

“I cannot overstate how proud I am of her,” Branson said, “And I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes as she moves on from SCHS.”