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ACNVEA VAPA Student of the Year 2019/20

~ Thirteen Visual and Performing Arts Students Receive Scholarships ~

The Arts Council Napa Valley Education Alliance (ACNVEA) has announced thirteen visual and performing arts Scholarship winners in three different categories–Overall Student of the Year ($1000), Distinguished Art students ($250), and  Discipline Honor students ($200). The recipients were selected from thirty-eight Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Student of the Month winners. The 2019/20 school year was the inaugural year for the program which sought nominations from art educators from all over Napa Valley. Funding for the program came from the SOTA Family Foundation, Napa Valley Community Foundation, and individual donor Harris Nussbaum. 

“We are so pleased with the support we’ve received for this initiative, from art educators as well as funders,” said Chris DeNatale, ACNV Executive Director.  He added, “It’s heartening to see our art students receive the recognition they deserve, elevating them to the status of our athletes and honor students.”  

The program will resume with the new school year, once again seeking nominations from art educators from all over the county, including public and private schools as well as homeschooled students. To see a complete list of Student of the Month Winners from 2019/2020, please visit ACNV Education Alliance

Here are the winners:


Visual & Performing Arts Student of the Year 

Gavin Armendariz, New Technology High/NCOE CTE  

During his time in high school, Armendariz has grown into a professional videographer, most recently working with Aperture Media, the Napa-based video production company, to film numerous virtual high school graduations. His digital media teacher, Lisa Gottfried, nominated Armendariz for his numerous talents, noting his integral contribution to the Napa Valley Lighted Arts Festival. She said, “His level of professionalism in every one of his projects is admirable and quite exciting to see as he moves out into the world and into the industry. She added, “He’s been a sponge and taken every opportunity presented to him to work on his craft from working with high-level TV and Film producers to winning state and international recognition. Most importantly, beyond being an amazing technician, he’s blossomed into an incredible digital storyteller.”

Armendariz, who graduated from New Technology High this spring, plans to use his scholarship award to purchase equipment to launch his own company.  In recent weeks he’s been documenting the numerous protests related to  Black Lives Matter and says he plans to make a documentary about the movement. He said, “I want to document the day where the system is restored and there is no racism in any position of power in this country.” 


Distinguished VAPA Students of the Year: $250 Scholarship Award

Jasmin Cruz, American Canyon High School   
Recognized for excellence in Music

Sophia Osborne, Saint Helena High
Recognized for excellence in Theatre

Isabella Christman, River Middle School  
Recognized for excellence in Visual Arts

Alexis Garcia, Bel Aire Park Elementary School 
Recognized for excellence in Visual Arts


Art Discipline Honors – $200 Scholarship Awards

Visual Arts: Amy Carson, Napa High School  
Recognized for excellence in Photography

Visual Arts: William Katz, Justin-Siena High School   
Recognized for excellence in Studio/Digital Arts

Visual Arts: Valeria Salgado, Harvest Middle School
Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

Visual Arts: Jordan Groves, Camille Creek/Nimbus
Recognized for excellence in Ceramics

Performing Arts: Faith Burger, Vintage High School
Recognized for excellence in Dance

Performing Arts: Francisco Sipora Gutierrez, Cafeteria Kids
Recognized for excellence in Theater

Performing Arts: Noah Elsas, River Middle School
Recognized for excellent in Music

Performing Arts: Jandro Canones, Willow Elementary School
Recognized for excellence in Music