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KHS Senior Honors Marine Through Digital Art
Victoria Othold's rendering memorializes renowned Marine Colonel Stormy Sexton
Nov. 8, 2012 – For more than 22 years, the Third Battalion, Third Marine Division (3/3) reunites and pays tribute to their commanding general during the Vietnam War, Colonel Martin "Stormy" Sexton. Colonel Sexton served the nation in three conflicts, World War II, Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and had numerous combat decorations including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. A photograph of Colonel Sexton graced the cover of Life Magazine in 1961, where he was highlighted for his dedication to his country and unyielding Semper Fidelis code of honor.

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On Oct. 24, 2012, Klein High student Victoria Othold was formally recognized for her artwork at the Stormy's 3/3 Reunion held at the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio. Victoria was commissioned by Steve Furman, a veteran of the battalion, to create a poster for the event. Depicting the astounding character of the former and still iconic Marine through a still rendering was no easy task, but according to Furman, Victoria nailed it.

"It was astounding as she truly captured the heart and soul of Stormy," said Furman. "She depicted his determination, esoteric demeanor and spirit in this piece, which was breathtaking. To see this come from a civilian, yet alone a youngster, who had never met the Colonel before was simply amazing."

Victoria has had strong military influences in her family, as her father was an Air Force officer during the Vietnam War, both great-grandfathers served in WWI, and her step-grandmother was a nurse for soldiers during WWII. At the reunion, Victoria met several veterans and accompanied them to the remembrance ceremony within the hallowed walls of the Alamo. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas granted permission to conduct a memorial service in Sexton's honor, with a full Marine Honor Guard inside the Texas landmark.

"It was an honor and an unbelievable opportunity to take part in this," she recalled. "I learned so much about the pride and passion these brave veterans possess in their country, and had the opportunity to meet some really astounding people. Hearing their stories and what they went through gave me a much greater respect for our freedom and liberties we have today."

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Victoria created a digital interpretation of the commander, along with the unit's distinctive Okinawa shoulder patch, as well as the symbolic Marine eagle, global and anchor insignia. The poster was displayed in the Menger Hotel lobby during the reunion, and was incorporated in the banquet decorations. Reunion organizers were so touched by the portrait that they shared the image with the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va., who in return requested an additional print copy that is now displayed in the Stormy Sexton enclave at the Marine Headquarters Museum. The design took Victoria nearly a month to finish, but it was an experience she was prepared for thanks to her KHS art teachers Chau Nguyen and Dee Burgess.

"Ms. Nguyen was very supportive and helpful, and gave me the guidance I needed especially during this project," said Victoria. "Ms. Burgess was my first art teacher here and she taught me a lot about art and using what you have, whether it be just a photograph like in this instance, to turn it into a creative piece."

Since taking Nguyen's digital graphics class a year ago and art classes from Burgess through her senior year, Victoria's interest in new media and graphic design has begun to flourish. Nguyen said that although Victoria just learned the program a year ago, she has definitely developed her own artistic style.

"I wasn't surprised by the final product because she is a great artist," credited Nguyen. "I was very impressed to see how much she has grown since last year as this was an intricate design, and I am very proud of her."

Victoria is president of the National Art Honor Society and a member of National Honor Society. She is in the top 10 percent of her class as she maintains a rigorous class schedule that includes four AP courses. Victoria plans to study communications at either the University of Texas, University of North Texas or University of Arkansas upon graduation, then continue her passion at a fine arts college to study animation and design.