Jake Buffington, a senior at Gold Beach High School, just won a free, two-year ride to college and $250 cash.

"My teacher tracked me down at work to tell me the news," he said. "It was awesome."

Buffington, under the tutelage of art instructor Jennifer Miller, took Best of Show for his ceramic sculpture titled "Assembly Line" in the VISION 2013 competition, underwritten by the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation.

The ceramic sculpture, a collage, is called "Assembly Line," is a series of four robots reassembling another robot.

"I drew up a plan to do one robot, and enjoyed making it so much, I made a series that was kind of similar," he said.

Buffington, who's always had a fascination with robots and mechanics, began working in ceramics three years ago when his family moved to Gold Beach from Montana. Each year he "stepped it up a little," he said.

He won third place in the VISION competition his sophomore year and second in show the following year.

This year, Buffington assembled the pieces and glazed them before he thought it might be unique to display them together in a collage. The entire process took more than a month.

At SWOCC, the 18-year-old plans to take core classes before transferring to Oregon State University to study microbiology.

"I enjoy studying viruses and their characteristics," he said. "I think I'll enjoy that, but as a hobby, I still have art as a thing in my life. I really enjoy it."

VISION 2013 includes artwork from 109 southern Oregon high school students. The 72 works of art, created by 65 students, are on display in the upstairs galleries at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay through May 9.

Other artists represented Armadillo Technical Institute in Phoenix and Bandon, Coquille, Brookings-Harbor, Myrtle Point, Reedsport and Yoncalla high schools; and Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction, and Marshfield High School in Coos Bay.

Coos Art Museum has served as a cultural focal point of the state's Southern Coast since 1966, occupying a historic 1936 Art Deco U.S. Federal Building in downtown Coos Bay. It features exhibitions, classes and lectures and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.