By George Gregory

Special to the CS&T

MALVERN – When Malvern Preparatory School senior Kevin Bogan started high school, he never imagined having three of his own creations in a nationally renowned ceramics exhibit.

But God moves in mysterious ways as Bogan has learned during his secondary education. Three of his pieces will be displayed at the National K-12 Ceramics Foundation’s annual exhibit, held April 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz. This exhibit is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Bogan, 17, is the third of four children and a parishioner of St. Patrick in Malvern. He attended St. Patrick Elementary School through eighth grade before moving on to Malvern Prep.

“I did some drawing in seventh and eighth grades, but I never thought of a career in art,” he said.

In his sophomore year, he took a course in ceramics for no other reason than the fact that it was a requirement, and the fire was ignited.

“The faculty at Malvern Prep inspired and enlightened me,” Bogan said.

His teacher and mentor Kate Plows said, “Kevin has matured and excelled in ceramics at an advanced rate for someone so new to the craft. His modesty about his talent is refreshing.”

“I don’t like boasting,” Bogan said. “I know this gift comes from God, and I want to be humble in sharing it.”

Each student at Malvern Prep gives back to the school community in his own way, and Bogan can always be counted on to assist with school projects. He believes that love for God is displayed in action as well as in word.

Most recently, Bogan helped design and build the sets for the Malvern Prep / Villa Maria Academy joint production of the play, “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” which was presented in March.

Bogan’s parents were somewhat surprised at his newfound interest in ceramics. “They were skeptical at first,” he said, “but now they are very proud and supportive.”

His mother Margaret recently participated in a special ceramics class for parents and teachers run by the students, and her son said he was impressed by her efforts. She traveled to Phoenix with him for the exhibit where his work will be seen by more than 4,000 art enthusiasts.

The juried ceramics exhibit receives more than 1, 400 entries from around the country. Only 150 are selected, and for Bogan to have three of his pieces selected is considered an extraordinarily rare accomplishment.

He was also selected for an internship at the Main Line Arts Center in Haverford – beating out graduate-level students and professional artists competing against him for the opportunity.

“We are very proud of Kevin’s achievement,” said Jackie White, who runs the arts program at Malvern Prep. She hopes his success will raise enthusiasm for the arts in other students.

“The choice to major in art is the best decision I ever made,” Bogan said, adding that he hopes the work of his hands will continue to grow and inspire.

George Gregory is a parishioner of St. Cecilia Parish in Coatesville.