SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — Hundreds of thousands of high schoolers submit their artwork to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards every year.

A senior at Lincoln High School won a regional award for her art and is now preparing to attend a ceremony of a lifetime in New York.

Ella Ratliff’s love for art started when she was a child.

“She’s always been a doodler, and you kind of always, as a parent, just kind of look at and go wow, that’s really good,” said Jason Ratliff, father.

Ella says her passion for art continued to grow into what it is today.

“It’s also brought me those like intimate connections with other people who like relate to the things that I’m making art pieces about. It’s just really cool to see,” said Ella Ratliff, Scholastic Art Recipient.

Last November, Ella submitted four of her pieces to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a national competition with thousands of submissions from all over the country. She won awards for all four.

“I can go to the ceremony. It’s been like, a dream of mine for forever, because this art competition is like, the biggest one in like the country. It’s very prestigious,” Ella said.

Her piece “Identity of Inner Workings” won a gold medal and the American Visions Medal for the entire region of South Dakota.

“It’s cliché, I know. But if you can put your mind to it, and you invest in it, you really can do whatever you set your mind to,” Jason said.

Ella and her family will be traveling to New York in June for the award ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

She plans to fundraise the $3000 for the trip by doing commissions for pet portraits. Email

Using her art to move towards her goals.

“My biggest dream is just to be able to be self-sufficient and like financially stable, just doing what I love,” Ella said.

Ella says she will be attending the Minneapolis College of Art Design in the fall, to continue her artistic journey.