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HMS students create artwork for Questar’s building

Students who made artwork for Questar are pictured here. In the far back are Jamie Post Candee and Jamie Lewison from Questar. Left to right in the back row are Alexandra Dunkel, Nora Hitchcock, Shelby Zwinger, Dakota Zwinger, Taylor Birke, Layna Schulte, Jacole Einfelet, Hannah Fanum and Kendra Stettler (art teacher). In the front are Rhianna Shick, Bailey Struve, Klarissa Schuberg and Chloe Traeder. Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn

The walls by the main offices for Questar Assessment Inc. in Apple Valley are being enhanced by beautiful pieces of artwork. The individuals who were commissioned to complete the work are right here in Hastings – they are students at Hastings Middle School.

The 20 HMS students who volunteered to create the vivid, brightly-colored artwork for the company completed the work after school in the middle school art room in April.

Last week, Jamie Post Candee, CEO of the company, made a special visit to the school and the young artists to thank them and to present certificates to them for their art.

“You are rock stars,” she said. “Teaching and learning are very important to us, and you have demonstrated what learning means to you.”

Questar Assessment Inc. is a Minnesota-based K-12 assessment solutions provider focused on building a bridge between learning and accountability. The company takes a fresh and innovative approach to meaningful assessment design, delivery, scoring, analysis and reporting. It is reimagining how assessments can empower educators by giving them the insights they need to improve instructions and fully prepare students for college or career.

The connection between Questar Assessment and Hastings Middle School began this past winter, explained Jamie Lewison, assistant to Post Candee.

“This past winter, as part of the company’s rebranding efforts, Questar began the work of redecorating its Apple Valley building with the new logo, colors and theme. One of the more popular ideas for decorating the building was to use real paintings from students of local Minnesota schools across our building, so Questar initiated an art project and Hastings Middle School to participate,” she said. ”We asked students to create art for the Questar offices that reflected the theme of what learning the community meant to them.”

Hastings Middle School provided the paint and Questar supplied the canvasses and donated a $150 gift card to the school to purchase office and school supplies.

The students – all volunteers – were directed to depict what learning meant to them and demonstrate that in their art. They could use various mediums.

“Questar is in the education business,” said Lewison. “Our daily focus is often on how to improve our educational assessment platform, or to build a better test or to see our clients through an impeccable test administration, and we understand how important it is to remind ourselves that students are the center of everything we do,” she said. “By enhancing our office space with student artwork, we get to draw inspiration from their spirit of curiosity, enthusiasm and playfulness while showcasing the artistic talents of local students to visiting clients from many states across the country.”