Lee's Summit R-7 School District

Watch a virtual art show featuring LSR7 Kiwanis Artists of the Year

Each year, LSR7 names six Kiwanis Artists of the Year — an honor given to one art student at each middle and high school. Watch a virtual art show of these talented artists and read why their art instructors nominated them for the award.

Congratulations to the following students on their 2020 honors:

  • Benjamin Snell, Lee’s Summit High School
  • Jiaxin Liu, Lee’s Summit North High School
  • Savannah Meyer, Lee’s Summit West High School
  • Katelynne James, Pleasant Lea Middle School
  • Lydia Hosack, Bernard Campbell Middle School
  • Lauren Kraenow, Summit Lakes Middle School


Benjamin Snell: It is with great pleasure that the Lee’s Summit High School Art Department awards Benjamin Snell as the Kiwanis Club  Artist Of The Year. Benjamin has demonstrated tremendous effort and growth throughout his four years with us and has always brought a focused energy to art classes. Ben has a combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve, that is rare in a high school student, but so essential to the learning process. We are confident that he will continue to display the same commitment and diligence in everything he does. As his academic records attests, Mr. Snell has maintained an A grade average during his study here at LSHS.  He does this while taking weighted/honors courses, being active in Art Club, National Art Honor Society, Lee’s Summit Teachers Academy and holding part time employment as a caricature artist at the Kansas City Zoo. Benjamin holds great skill in painting. He finds inspiration in portraiture but seems to turn every subject matter created in any media into gold when he touches it. Benjamin has truly demonstrated a growth mindset, and he inspires his peers to adopt that valuable perspective, as well. Benjamin helps contribute to the classroom environment to be one where all students can feel supported and able to ask questions.  This is a perfect trait for Ben to have as he is wishing to become an art teacher.

Jiaxin Liu: Jiaxin Liu is Lee’s Summit North High School’s 2020 Kiwanis Artist of the Year. Jiaxin is without hesitation one of the strongest, motivated, investigational, trustworthy and dedicated students that I have had the pleasure of working with during my tenure as Art Teacher at LSN. Jiaxin views her world through the lens of an artist and designer. She finds pattern relationships and observes her environments with an authentic curiosity that is so sincerely rare and refreshing; unlike any other I have witnessed in a young student. I am so very proud of her hard work and the exciting future she has before her. In the Fall, she will become an asset to her new classroom at Pratt School of Art and Design in New York City. Look out, NYC, Jiaxin is about to bring a fresh face to Architecture. Best of luck to you, Jiaxin Liu. Your teachers and friends at LSN are forever cheering for you.

Savannah Meyer: Savannah Meyer stands out as a prolific creator with drive and vision. Savannah’s energy and passion comes through in her work with bold colors, dynamic figures, and compelling narratives. As a thoughtfully engaged maker, Savannah has successfully achieved the balance of the artist’s trifecta: craft, creativity, and concept. Savannah’s portfolio demonstrates breadth and depth. She excels in a wide range of media, from realistic and illustrative drawing and painting to digital animation, while also challenging herself to experiment with new techniques. Savannah’s hard work and talent have been rewarded with her many recognitions at the local, regional, and national levels. These have included the Congressional Art Competition and Scholastic Art Awards, among others. The Lee’s Summit West Art Department greatly appreciates Savannah’s dedication to our art program. Her participation in events such as Summit Arts Fest and her many art achievements has elevated the arts in Lee’s Summit and has set a standard for others to follow.

Katelynne James: Katelynne James is an outstanding 8th-grade artist! Katelynne was chosen as the Pleasant Lea Middle School Kiwanis Club  Artist of the Year because she has demonstrated a fierce drive to create this school year. She’s not afraid to tackle any media and has put in countless hours outside of the classroom on her own. Katelynne always has new and fresh ideas for projects and does an amazing job moving from concept to reality. Katelynne is a wonderful student and classmate, who encourages her peers and is kind to everyone around her.

Lydia Hosack: I have had the privilege of having Lydia in class for both years during her time at Bernard Campbell Middle School. Since the first day I met her, I knew she was going to be a student who would always be engaged, ready to learn new things and a bright face in my room who would be excited about making art together. The quality of work she produces is exemplary, and she was active in extracurricular art activities like art club. Her mind is brilliant, she spends so much time perfecting her craft and is always finding ways to go above and beyond. I have no doubt that Lydia is going to do great things in her life relative to her art-making. I am thankful for the relationship we have had these last two years with her as my student, and I can’t wait to see how she continues to impress her art instructors at Lee’s Summit North High School. BCMS will definitely miss Lydia next year!

Lauren Kraenow: Lauren’s work in my class the past two years has been outstanding, but her attention to drawing and development of artistic thought and personal style is evident in everything she creates.  From her first days at SLMS she has shared her sketchbook drawings and has continued throughout her 7th and 8th grade years. She is prolific and produces art on her own daily. Any staff member knows of Lauren’s artistic abilities.  Sometimes her artwork extends beyond the pages of her sketchbooks and wanders up and down her arms! We have many students at SLMS who produce outstanding work, but Lauren’s sincere love and interest in the continuous development of her own personal style and expression sets her apart.  She is driven and unique! It’s like a personal language that spills out of her, and she must create! The art teachers at SLMS are very proud of Lauren and can’t wait to see where her artistic skills and love of art takes her!

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