During one of many snow days last winter, 10-year-old Cherry Hill resident Brett Schuster decided to draw a portrait.
“I had nothing to do and it was something I’ve been wanting to do,” he said.
The portrait simply depicted three people holding hands. Schuster entitled it “Friends.”
Little did Schuster know, his picture would soon be featured in a national publication,
Schuster’s “Friends” drawing was featured in the September issue of the children’s magazine “Highlights.” Schuster’s drawing was featured in the magazine’s “Your Own Pages” section, where kids’ submitted work is displayed.
Schuster is one of only a few kids who have had the privilege of being selected. “Highlights” receives more than 35,000 submissions per year, but only publishes a fraction of those.
“I was really excited,” Schuster said upon learning of his selection. “I read through it every month.”
Schuster is a very active fifth grader from Bret Harte Elementary School. He plays tennis and baseball and can also perform on the saxophone.
Brett’s mother, Sheryl, said her son hasn’t shown a particular interest in art or drawing, but he was extremely excited when she received word of his selection during the summer.
“He came up with the idea on his own,” Sheryl said. “I don’t know if he’s always wanted to do it.”
Brett said the picture doesn’t depict himself or any of his friends in particular. He just wanted to display the importance of friendship and the positive impact it can have on people.
“It had nothing to do with anybody,” Brett said. “It was random.”
Sheryl has her own thoughts on what Brett’s drawing actually means.
“In school they were actually learning about diversity, she said. “So that was one of the reasons he drew about different people. He didn’t have anyone in mind, though.”
This isn’t the first time Brett has received a huge honor. Sheryl described her son as an accomplished, straight-A student. In the past, he was named an honorable mention for a poster he created for the National PTA Reflections Program. The reflections poster contest asks students to create a picture based on a common theme each year.
Brett has also participated in the Red Ribbon Poster Contest to promote awareness of drug and alcohol abuse.
Sheryl said she has never had to push her son to participate, describing him as someone who is always looking to get involved in new activities and contests.
“He likes to enter then because it is fun,” Sheryl said.
Brett’s proactive approach doesn’t just extend to poster contests and school activities. Sheryl said her son isn’t afraid to write letters to companies or dignitaries about something he observes.
“He keeps very busy,” she said. “He’s very active.”
Brett said he might do more drawing in the future. While he hopes he can be published again in the future, Brett plans to hang on to his featured issue for a long time.