Berkeley County, S.C. (WCIV) — On Monday, Cane Bay high school senior, Jorge De La Cruz received a surprise of a lifetime.
The congressional art institute holds a Congressional Art Competition each year.
Thousands of applicants take part in the competition, this year, for a chance to have their artwork on display for one year at the U.S. Capitol.
De La Cruz is this year's winner for the South Carolina district.
He will be awarded with other national district winners in an award ceremony in Washington, D.C.
De La Cruz had no idea he won.
"I thought I was going to guidance because they called me down, and once I saw everyone, I was like, 'what are they doing?'"
South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford gave him the good news.
Sanford says, "It's a celebration of his artwork, his talent, and what I think he will go on to create in the course of his life."
Willis Sanders, a mentor of De La Cruz, was the featured person in his award-winning masterpiece. The medium was colored pencils and he said it took about three weeks to complete.
They both inspire each other through art.
Sanders believes this is only the beginning for the up and coming new artist.
"I said to him that he will be the next great artist because of his hard work and his achievements, and being an inspiration to me and to all of us," Sanders said.
De La Cruz feels none of this would be possible with out Sanders and his art teacher at Cane Bay, Barbra Richardson.
"She is my all-time favorite teacher to me, she has a place in my heart, she's like a second mom to me."
This is the second consecutive year a student from Cane Bay has won the nationwide art competition.
De La Cruz plans to continue his art education when he attends college this fall.