National prize earned by Gabriel

Webb School of Knoxville rising eighth-grader Gabriel Little recently won the National Middle School Grand Prize in the American Council for International Studies’ Travel is Education Scholarship contest. His $1,000 scholarship will go toward his upcoming school trip to Iceland.

Gabriel, who lives with his father, Luther, and mother, Dawn, just outside of Farragut in Lovell Hills, submitted his art piece, “Team Huddle,” in the ACIS art/photography category earlier this year.

The contest’s theme was “Global Citizen.” According to an ACIS press release, students were directed to address what global citizenship meant to them and potentially address how one could become a better global citizen.

Gabriel designed the piece with six hands, each representing a world continent, symbolically reaching out to each other.

“I wrote every single country from each continent on each hand,” Gabriel said. “I saw it kind of like a team, showing that as a world we need to work together.

“When we come together, we can accomplish something great and change our world,” he added in a separate interview.

At first, Gabriel was hesitant to submit the piece.

“He had it done before it was due, but he said to me, ‘I know it’s good, but I don’t know if it’s that good,’” his mother said. “Then he won, and he was just blown away.”

Gabriel is no stranger to art — it is one of his main hobbies. His work has been displayed in the Knoxville Museum of Art. He has participated in the UT Gardens’ Art in the Garden programs in downtown Knoxville and has served as a student artist-in-action at Webb’s Artxtravagnza, where he was able to demonstrate his skills in real time.

“I mostly focus on drawing, but occasionally I do other mediums,” he said. “It is something I have always enjoyed. I like being able to express ideas and myself that way.”

However, art is not Gabriel’s only focus.

“I like science, writing and reading, then art,” he explained.

Gabriel also enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, and he swims for both the Webb School swim team and the Concord Hills Piranhas summer swim team. He also is a member of the Spartans track & field team, where he participates in shot put and discus.

The rising eighth-grader says he tries to hike “every weekend, if I can. I get a lot of inspiration from nature for my art.”