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Busy student plans career as an artist

Haley Tam is one busy student on and off the campus of Thomson High School.

Aside from her academic studies, Haley, the daughter of Stan and Kim Tam, of Thomson, manages to juggle her senior classes, homework and several extracurricular activities. Among those activities, she's a cheerleader; serves as president of her graduating class -- a title she held both her junior and sophomore years; serves as president of the Beta Club: holds a 3.8 GPA; and is a junior member of the McDuffie Arts Council. She also was a candidate for homecoming queen, and she is on the school's yearbook staff.

Additionally, Haley and a close friend, Sarah Swan, also a senior, works in the broadcast booth at Thomson High, announcing the names of players in baseball and girls' softball games. She even helps, when time permits, her dad, who is a videographer and runs his own business, Take One Productions .

And on top of it all, Haley finds time to do what she loves most -- creating various kinds of art, whether it's a drawing or a painting.

Officials with McDuffie Arts Council call her "an aspiring young artist." The title seems most appropriate considering she won the 2009 Georgia Farm Bureau Art Contest -- her winning entry featured in the 2009 GFB calendar. Haley has even developed several design concepts for various publications, including yearbooks at Thomson High School and J.A. Maxwell Elementary School, where her mother serves as a reading resource teacher.

During the past few years, several of her drawings also have been featured in calendars distributed by the McDuffie County Board of Education. Some of her designs have even been used on T-shirts, CD and DVD covers. As a varsity cheerleader the past two years, Haley also has helped create some elaborate mural banners that football players burst through before games. She was even asked at the end of last year's baseball season -- one of the most successful in the history of the school -- if she would do a painting of the baseball field so that it could be presented to now-retired head coach Terry Holder.

So where does this 17-year-old student find the time to blend all of these things?

"It's a little tough sometimes," said Haley during an interview last week. "Somehow I just do."

One of the reasons is having supportive parents.

"My parents have always had high expectations for me," said Haley. "I've always wanted to do my best at everything."

An A-plus student, Haley hopes to attend the prestigious private art institution known as Savannah College of Art and Design following graduation. Already, she has been accepted there and is eligible to receive an $8,000 scholarship.

"I'd really love to go to school there," said Haley.

"It's a great art and design school."

During the recent Christmas break from school, Haley was invited by Thomson businesswoman LeAnn Cowart to show and sell some of her art work.

"That was a really nice experience and I appreciate Mrs. Cowart allowing me that opportunity," said Haley.

She said the only thing she disliked about it was putting a price tag on her art pieces.

During the Christmas Open House at Mrs. Cowart's business, Haley sold eight painted wine glasses.

At an early age, her parents discovered that she was talented.

"I've been drawing since I can remember," said Haley. "I used to get a big box of color crayons every year for Christmas. I just loved it."

She said her parents told her they noticed her fascination with art when she turned 3.

Today, Haley loves acyclic art work.

"I like working with acyclic arts, because the colors are so bright," said Haley, noting that art "has always just been my thing."

Web posted on Thursday, January 21, 2010

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