Excited. Nervous. Proud.

Zion MathisZion Mathis graduated from East Saint Louis Senior High School in East Saint Louis, Illinois in June 2017. His plans for college are currently on hold; however, he intends to enroll as a student at Southwestern Illinois College in January of 2018, where he will pursue a major in Video Game Design/Movie Animation. He was initially introduced to ACT-SO by his art teacher who signed him up to join and compete in the program. He competed in the 2017 local East Saint Louis ACT-SO branch competition in the Painting category, where he won a gold medal for his Ying Yang Sun and Moon painting. Due to his accomplishments at the local competition, Zion has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

Three Words to Describe Feelings about National Competition

Excited, nervous and proud. Zion is excited because this is his first time competing in the national competition, and he is anxious to see how his overall experience will be. He is nervous because he wants the judges to like his work, so that he will, hopefully, win a medal at the award ceremony.  He is also a bit nervous because he is unsure of what exactly to expect from this competition. Lastly, Zion is proud because his paintings were considered good enough to advance to the national competition, and he was given the opportunity to showcase his work on a national stage.

Nerves & Excitement

He is most nervous about being unable to give a detailed explanation of his painting when presenting to the judges. Due to his Autism, it is sometimes difficult for him to find the right words needed to properly explain his thoughts and opinions. Despite his nerves, he is looking forward to traveling to Baltimore and cherishing every moment of this special experience. Regardless of whether his work wins a medal or not, Zion hopes to gain valuable criticism about the strengths and weaknesses of his artwork and how he can improve to become a better artist.


“Go for it. Your time and effort will be well worth it.” – Zion Mathis

We wish you the best of luck, Zion, in the 2017 national competition!


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