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Three Illinois Students Recognized for Promise in Architecture and Design

BLDD Architects, Inc., is pleased to announce the recipients of the annual Because Life Deserves Design ScholarshipMadelyn Beck, Katherine Minch and Declan Markel. The scholarship — named after BLDD’s mission “Because Life Deserves Design” — recognizes senior high school students for their creativity, artistic passion and potential to contribute to the world of architecture, interior or graphic design. 

BLDD Principal Mark Ritz says, "I find inspiration in the exceptional talent and promising futures of these seniors. Collaborating with our district clients to provide unwavering support to their students is truly gratifying."

BLDD Principal Mark Ritz with scholarship recipient Declan Markel 

Several students applied this year by submitting a unique artwork piece that embodied the phrase “Because Life Deserves Design,” a written artist’s statement, and materials showing their intent to pursue a design major in their higher education.  

Madelyn Beck of Springfield High School received this year’s "Best In Show" honors. Her colored pencil self-portrait entitled “A Young Artist's Dream” and her stellar application made a strong impression on the jury panel of BLDD design specialists. 

A Young Artist's Dream by Madelyn Beck

In regards to her artwork, Beck says, “Representing myself through bright colors and fluid lines filled me with joy. As I ventured through elementary, middle, and high school my love for art and design never faltered–it only grew. We are at our most creative state when we are young. As we grow older, our creativity can deplete as we begin to focus on reality and perfection. This piece captures the idea that art and creativity can remain despite the stressors of growing up–because we deserve the joys of art and design at every stage of our lives.”

With her work truly embodying  BLDD’s mission, Beck was awarded a $2,500 scholarship. She plans to attend Millikin University in the fall to study graphic design.

Also of Springfield High School, Katherine Minch was recognized for her extraordinary digital drawing inspired by a four-year-old version of herself. For her overall application, Minch was awarded a $2,000 scholarship. She plans to attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to study graphic design.

Digital Painting by Katherine Minch

Declan Markel of Manteno High School also received the Because Life Deserves Design Scholarship with his pen and ink drawing. Markel was awarded $500 for his entry, and plans to study architecture with a minor in art from the co-op program at Concordia University of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in the fall.

Ink Drawing by Declan Markel

BLDD appreciates and is proud of all applicants who took the time to apply. In the last five years, over $20,000 has been awarded to graduating seniors throughout Illinois, including Williamsville-Sherman, Mahomet-Seymour, Eisenhower High School (Decatur), Mount Zion, and Mattoon High Schools.

Scholarship recipients Madelyn Beck and Katherine Minch with BLDD Principal Todd Cyrulik (right) and Springfield High Art Teacher Jake Stapleton (left).

Interested in applying for next year's Because Life Deserves Design Scholarship? Applications for the 2025 scholarship will open in the Spring!

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