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Teachers sing the praises of their talented artists

MISSIO Scotland’s Annual Christmas Artwork Contest once again featured a number of talented prize-winners from throughout the country, who wowed the judges with their artistic skills.

The yearly competition is open to young people in Scotland’s Catholic primary schools and invites the pupils to submit a piece of art based on the following subjects: The Nativity (a manger scene, Jesus, Mary and Joseph); the Three Wise Men (presenting the gifts or following the star); the Shepherds (with sheep, in their fields, seeing the angel or visiting the manger); Mother and Child (Mary with the Baby Jesus); Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem; the Newborn Jesus in the manger; or the Angel Gabriel.

Eight winners—ideally one from each of Scotland’s dioceses—are then selected and the winning artworks are displayed in each of the diocesan cathedrals during Advent and Christmas. The children themselves receive an early Christmas present, in the shape of a gift voucher for Smyth’s Toy Superstore, and their artworks are also used as Missio Scotland’s official Christmas cards the following year.

Firstly, we had Aryann Murtaza (above), a Primary 1/2 pupil at St Monica’s Primary School in Milton, whose vivid drawing of a shepherd and his sheep drew grew plaudits, not only from the Missio Scotland judges, but also from his headteacher, Martin Broadley who said: “It was great that Aryann was a winner from our school. He was so pleased as were his parents. When I asked him how he felt about winning he said that he was so proud of himself”

Next up was Lara Nascimento (above), a Primary 7 pupil at St Ignatius Primary School in Wishaw who caught the eye of the judges with her poignant artwork of the Magi.

“I really enjoyed taking part in the Missio Scotland Christmas Artwork competition and winning,” Lara exclaimed. “I found it a great way to put my art out there and show a bit of my skills and dreams. Thank you so much for choosing me as a winner.”


Her headteacher, Anne-Marie Pearson was fulsome in her praise of Lara, but admitted with so many good artists at the school, it was difficult for them to sort out the entries at their end!


“The children of St Ignatius’ Primary School enjoy taking part in the Missio Scotland Christmas Artwork Contest every year and we were all delighted that Lara’s design was chosen as one of the winners this year,” Anne-Marie said. “We had so many excellent entries this year that it was difficult to choose which designs to send to Missio Scotland, however Lara’s design was outstanding. We are all very proud of Lara’s achievement.”

Avanthika Vaidhya Senthilkumar (above), a Primary 7 pupil at Sacred Heart Primary School in Bellshill, was our next worthy winner for her wonderfully detailed Nativity scene, and her achievement delighted her headteacher, Karen Somerville.

“This pupil is a recent addition to our Sacred Heart family,” Karen said. “She is a pupil who is focused and continually aims for her best in all aspects of the curriculum. One aspect that stands out is her artistry. Her winning submission was a beautifully detailed and colourful scene based on her experiences in life. We all agreed that she was a very deserving winner and are proud that she represented our school in her winning creation.”

“I envisaged Mary looking down in wonder at how beautiful her baby was.” Those were the words of our next winner, Amelia Harkin (above), a Primary 7 pupil at St Joseph’s Primary School in Helensburgh. Her stunning representation of Our Lady and the Baby Jesus in arms thrilled both her teacher, Linda Trainer, and principal teacher at the school, Claire Thomson.


“Amelia displays a great sense of maturity,” Linda said. “She is always focused and gives her best in all her work. She was absent on the day that the class started the contest, but when she returned to school, she quickly caught up and produced this beautiful entry.”


Claire added: “Amelia is a lovely girl and a great role model in school. She is currently preparing for her Confirmation and is working towards completion of the Pope Francis Faith Award. She displays the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in everything she does and is a great asset in P7.”

Kaja Wojcik (above), a Primary 3 pupil at St Mary’s Primary School in Leith, was one of two winners from St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese, producing as she did a fantastic drawing of the Magi. Upon hearing that her entry had won, she said: “It made me happy to win a prize. In my picture the Three Kings are taking presents to the Baby Jesus."


Next up was Thea Doherty (above), a Primary 5 pupils from St Joseph’s Primary School in Busby, whose colourful depiction of an angel really stood out. The fact that it was chosen as a winning entry produced a lovely response.


“I am so delighted to have won this Christmas Card competition for such a fantastic charity,” Thea said.


Primary 4 pupil at Mount Carmel Primary School in Kilmarnock, Gosia Wolos (above), was similarly pleased after her colourful depiction of an angel was among the prizes.


“Thank you Missio Scotland for choosing my Christmas themed angel,” Gosia said. “When I found out I had won, I was delighted!”


Last, but by no means least, in our 2023 winners was Murren Kibble, a Primary 5/6 pupil at St Columba's Primary School in Cupar, who showcased the Holy Family's journey to Bethlehem in a snow globe surrounded by starscreativity that really stood out.

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