By Melinda Munson

Senior Adalia Deach is known to delight Skagway School elementary children with illustrations for their birthdays or other special occasions. Young students come home with the treasured creations and proudly display them on their refrigerators or bedroom walls. 

This fall, Adalia has the potential to share her art with a wider audience as she heads to the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. Accepted into the BFA Illustration Program, Adalia was awarded the Silas H. Rhodes Scholarship, a merit scholarship worth $23,500 each year, which will cover half of tuition.

SVA described the scholarship process as “highly competitive” and “given in recognition” of Adalia’s “academic and artistic success.”

Growing up, Adalia didn’t usually have access to an art teacher at Skagway School, which recently revitalized its art program with a full-time art instructor.

Adalia started drawing seriously in eighth or ninth grade.

“It wasn’t that great,” she said, describing her art skills. “I’ve been working at it since then.”

She attended Sitka Fine Arts Camp for six years. Adalia has also been active in robotics, choir and designed the school year book cover for the past several years.

Father Matt Deach described his daughter as “kind.”

“She’s something else for sure,” he said. “Very self-reliant. She goes and learns stuff.” 

He described a time when a friend shared a video of Adalia proficiently singing and playing the ukulele at age 11. It was a shock. While the Deaches kept a ukulele in their home, Adlia had never had instrument or singing lessons.

He said the same discipline and talent extends to her art.

“She can just look at something and draw it.”

Adalia is looking forward to practicing art forms she hasn’t had an opportunity to experience in Skagway: printmaking, block printing, sculpture, oil painting. She’s also excited to be “taught professionally.”

“I’m really excited to meet new people,” Adalia said. “I haven’t gone a lot of places.”

When asked if he was nervous to have his daughter in such a big city, Matt was frank about Alaska’s violence against women statistics.

“Anchorage is far more terrifying to me,” he said.

Adalia hopes to finish out the summer in Skagway in her part-time job at the library. One of her favorite aspects of the work is reshelving books where she’ll sometimes flip through a book to quickly check the art. 

“I think we should have illustrations in all books,” she said.