Versatile student awarded Art Club scholarship

Sebastian River High School Senior Melissa Marsiglia is the recipient of the 7th annual Rosalee Taylor Hume Scholarship awarded by the Sebastian River Art Club, which will help her go to college to pursue her studies in Fine Arts.

Born and raised in Sebastian, Marsiglia developed an interest in art as a fourth grader, through the Boys and Girls Club, where she learned about an art competition for all the children in the clubs nationwide.

“I submitted two pictures, using pastels, a dog and a butterfly. They both made it to the state competition. The club’s art teacher would call and let me know what was happening. And she’d say, ‘Oh, by the way, your butterfly is on its way to Washington, DC.’ My butterfly had made it to the nationals!”

Ever since then, through her middle and high school years, Marsiglia has been taking art classes, and she is currently a member of the SRHS Art Club. That is not, by any means, all the busy 18-year-old has been involved in during her high school career.

In addition to achieving academic excellence, Marsiglia is in the Spirit Club and S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and has been a member of the basketball team for the past four years. She is in the SRHS Culinary Academy as well for hands-on training in the restaurant business.

The academy caters dinners in its banquet hall and kitchen, which are rented out to churches and other community organizations for special events. The students are responsible for the entire event, preparing and serving the meals. Successful completion of the three-year Culinary Academy course and passing a special test leads to a Culinary Certification, required to become a professional chef. Marsiglia especially enjoys baking.

But the visual, rather than the culinary, arts still hold most of her interest, and she has mastered a variety of media. “I’ve enjoyed whatever our art teacher taught us. I’ve experimented with pottery, printmaking, watercolors, acrylics – I haven’t tried oils yet – and I very much enjoy working with pastels.”

She has done some work in pointillism – “using a bunch of little dots to make a big picture. It is very challenging,” she observes. “It tests your patience, that’s for sure.” A painting of a peacock she created using the painstaking technique is currently on display in the Vero Beach Museum of Art, and, in a competition there, took a second place.

Beyond her scholastic and extracurricular activities, Marsiglia somehow finds time for a job. She works part-time at Publix and every summer volunteers in the office at Fellsmere Elementary School.

“My mom works there,” she says, “and I help the teachers. Last year I helped a teacher move her entire classroom, and I stamped lots of math and science books that didn’t have the school stamp. There must have been 1,000.”

Marsiglia’s SRHS art instructor, Maria Mual, has provided support and encouragement during her junior and senior years and “she gave me the application for the scholarship.”

Marsiglia is excited to be graduating high school and even more excited at the prospect of college in the fall. Her plan is to spend much of the summer break “packing up all my things” preparing for her freshman year at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers. Freshman orientation is in July and she’ll move into her dorm right before classes start on Aug. 18.

The school, established in 1997, is relatively new and she says she is happy that “all the buildings are eco-friendly, even the toilets use less water.”

Marsiglia’s career opportunities are many – and she wants to keep her options open. Teaching art, corporate advertising, even the film industry are a few of the diverse fields she’s considered. “My cousin is a camera girl for the TV show, ‘Bones,’ filmed in California,” she says, and she thinks she could probably get a job through that connection.

For now, Marsiglia will be occupied with the transition to college, where she’ll major in Fine Arts. “I’m really grateful for the Art Club scholarship,” she says. “It’s been kind of rough and the money is really going to help.”

The Rosalee Taylor Hume Scholarship Fund was established in 2008 in memory of Rosalee Taylor Hume, a founding member of the Sebastian River Art Club in the 1930s. She was a superb painter and sculptress. Examples of her work can be viewed at the North Indian River County Library in the bust of Bama Vickers Lawson, and in the bronze sculpture of Paul Kroegel, first warden of the Pelican Island National Wildlife Preserve, on the riverfront across from Riverview Park.

For further information on the Art Club or the scholarship program, contact Judy McNamara at 321-258-0987.

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