Katelyn Schmitz 1st place, 2nd-3rd grade, and OVERALL WINNER, Grade 2, St. Bernard Parish and School, Omaha


Artistic skill, imagination on display in annual Christmas contest

That’s how art teacher Dawn Burton described the work of this year’s winners in the Catholic Voice’s Colors of Christmas art contest.

Burton, one of this year’s judges and a teacher at Roncalli Catholic High School in Omaha, said, “I’m really impressed with the technical skills that the students have, especially at such a young age.”

And those skills were on full display in the work produced by grand prize winner Katelyn Schmitz, age 8, a second-grader at St. Bernard School in Omaha.


She portrayed this year’s subject – Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus and the angel’s announcement of his birth to the shepherds (Lk 2:1-20) – in oil paints and glitter.

“Her craftsmanship is amazing,” said judge Christine Koehn, art teacher at St. Cecilia School in Omaha. “She has good attention to detail, and her angel really tells the story.

“It’s neat to see the different kids’ perspectives, like when they hear the same Bible verse, how they interpret that,” Koehn said.

Schmitz said she made the angel such a prominent part of her artwork because “she is special” in spreading the message “about baby Jesus coming into the world.”

Judge Mary Jo Kampschneider, art teacher at Guardian Angels Central Catholic Schools in West Point, praised the creativity of all the entries and the variety of materials used, which included paint, water colors, crayons, colored pencils, glitter, fabric, yarn and wood.

In its ninth year, the contest drew over 1,500 entries from students in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs, and Catholic homeschool students in families registered in archdiocesan parishes. The contest’s underwriting sponsor, Catholic Mutual Group in Omaha, provided funds to cover its costs and promotion.

Students competed in three grade categories – K-1, 2-3 and 4-6 – with first, second and third place winners in each category receiving gift cards from participating sponsors, The Cosgrave Company and Gloria Deo Catholic Books and Gifts, both in Omaha, and Divine Truth Christian Store in La Vista.

Prizes were: $40 for first place winners, $30 for second place and $20 for third place. The grand prize winner received an additional $30 in gift cards.

In addition, the winners have their artwork published on the following pages of this issue and on the newspaper’s website (catholicvoiceomaha.com).


Here are the first, second, third and honorable mention finishes for the Kindergarten-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade and 4th-6th grade divisions:

Kindergarten – 1st grade

JOEY JANSEN 1st place, Grade 1, St. Bernadette Parish and School, Bellevue


CALEB RIHA 2nd place, Grade 1, St. Boniface Parish, Stuart Public School, Stuart


TRAVIS HEITHOLD 3rd place, Kindergarten, St. Mary Parish and School, Wayne


IRENA JONES Honorable Mention, Grade 1, St. Bernadette Parish and School, Bellevue


ELLIE RIDDER Honorable Mention, Grade 1, St. Mary Parish and Guardian Angels Central Catholic School, West Point


2nd-3rd grade

JULIA MCNAMARA 2nd place, Grade 2, St. Matthew the Evangelist Parish, Bellevue, Bellevue Elementary School


DAPHNE ST. GERMAIN 3rd place, Grade 3, St. Robert Bellarmine Parish and School, Omaha


KIERSTEN HANS Honorable Mention, Grade 3, St. Andrew Parish and Bloomfield Public School, Bloomfield


CHARLIE OLECHOSKI Honorable Mention, Grade 3, St. Robert Bellarmine Parish and School, Omaha


4th-6th grade

MIKE KRIENKE 1st place, Grade 6, St. Anthony Parish and School, Columbus


BELLA HUTCHINSON 2nd place, Grade 4, St. Anthony Parish and School, Columbus


KENNEDY KRUEGER 3rd place, Grade 5, St. Isidore Parish and School, Columbus


IRICK BRANDON Honorable Mention, Grade 6, St. Columbkille Parish, Papillion, homeschooled


BROOKE KRIENKE Honorable Mention, Grade 5, St. Anthony Parish and School, Columbus

Sign up for weekly updates and news from the Archdiocese of Omaha!
This is default text for notification bar