The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 19, 2014

Student’s photos win awards

SIDMAN — A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

Katey Ladika recently received three gold and two silver awards plus six honorable mentions in the photography category in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards’ northeast region.

One of Katey’s gold award photos then earned a silver award in the organization’s national competition.

The contest, founded in 1923, is presented by the nonprofit organization Alliance for Young Arts to not only celebrate the rich future of artistic America but also to document its past.

Katey said it is hard to believe that her dream of being ranked beside geniuses such as Capote, Warhol and Stephen King has come true.

“It’s hard to contain the excitement,” said Katey, the daughter of Tony and Wendy Ladika of Salix.

“It wouldn’t be completely true to say that I choose my subjects,” Katey said, adding that her subjects choose her.

“Usually when I get ready for a photo shoot, I take a bag of props with anything from mirrors to an oriental fan to light bulbs.

“From there, I go on a walk through my neighborhood and do whatever comes to mind at that particular moment. Spontaneous artwork is always the best.”

Katey said her journalism adviser, Deborah Gdula, has been supportive of her efforts.

“If it weren’t for Mrs. Gdula being my adviser, I wouldn’t have been able to enter many of the competitions. So I’m incredibly thankful to her.”

Gdula said Katey has won numerous awards this year, including ones at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and  Pennsylvania Farm Show.

“As a photographer, Katey excels in an eye for the unusual,” Gdula said. “She finds unique angles on everyday objects and truly has an exceptional perception when she shoots a photo.”

Wendy Ladika said she and her husband are proud of their daughter.

“It’s fantastic,’” Wendy Ladika said about the awards. “We are really proud of her.”

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads