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EPISD Student Spotlight: Cole Mendenhall, Chapin High

(CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL -- Nov. 8, 2021) — Chapin senior Cole Mendenhall already is an accomplished artist whose pieces have hung in galleries throughout the country and earned accolades. His laser focus on detail and passion for his craft shows a maturity beyond his years, notes his art teacher Ana Valdez.

“Cole has high personal standards of accountability in executing artwork that is both expressive and refined. His self-motivated inner drive sets him apart from other students when it comes down to accomplishing his long-term goal, which attending art school.”  

Community Engagement sat down with him for a virtual interview for this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight.

EPISD: What are some of your accomplishments in art?   

COLE MENDENHALL: I have a national award for a Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth Art Contest and attended Creative Connections in Oberwesel, Germany. I have also had a gallery showing at Dahl Art Center in Rapid City, S.D.

EPISD: Tell us about your passion for art?  

CM: It is my main drive. I want to master technical and creative skills. It is a satisfying pursuit and something I must do to maintain myself. Either way I will be doing it. I have nothing in life that compels me in life as strong as art does.  

EPISD: What are your favorite media and subjects? 

CM: My favorite media are acrylic paint, pen and ink and graphite. My subjects vary greatly, I like a mix of historical and the fantastical while being grounded.

EPISD: What activities are you involved in?

CM: I am working to complete my design studio. I also work, do fencing and preparing to head off to college.

EPISD: Tell us about being a military student? How long have you been in El Paso and what do you enjoy about the city and your high school?

CM: I have lived in El Paso two previous times, this being my third time.  El Paso is the place I’m most familiar with and have the most memories of. The people here are very friendly. Being a military student is just a trade-off. You move every 1 to 3 years, but you gain a wealth of experiences around the world. 

EPISD: Where do you plan to go to college and what do you plan to major in? 

CM: I plan to attend college at Laguna College of Arts and Design and major in Entertainment Design.

EPISD: How did you get involved in fencing and what do you enjoy about it? 

CM: I joined out of curiosity. I was a wrestler prior and wanted to do something unique.

EPISD: What do you look forward to in your senior year?   

CM: By senior year most have learned how to manage time and with this time you can prepare for the future. I am looking forward to being able to craft the next four years of my life while still being in high school.

EPISD: What advice would you give incoming freshman?

CM: People around you may be reaching their peak during high school.  This is not a good thing. Its normal for you to struggle and if you are not, something may in fact be wrong. 

Interview by Reneé de Santos