April 2023 VAPA Students of the Month

Napa Educators Recognize Arts Students for Excellence Qualifying them for ACNVEA Scholarships

The Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) is privileged to award the following teachers and students. Sixteen students are recognized as April’s Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners. ACNV SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony that will take place Wednesday, June 7th, at the Napa Valley Community College Performing Arts Center, where over $10,000 worth of scholarships will be awarded.

We are now accepting nominations for May, the last month of the 22/23 school year, and the last chance to secure a chance at winning one of the scholarships. ACNV accepts nominations of College, High School, Middle School, and Elementary level students from the county’s visual and performing arts teachers. Please visit the Arts Council Napa Valley website for more information and to access the nomination form. Nominations are due by the 25th of every month.

Please visit our Facebook page for more images of our SOM’s work. If you’d like to support this year’s Student of the Year ceremony, please consider donating toward the event at our website: ArtsCouncilNapaValley.Org/Donations.

Here are April’s  winners:

College Level Winners

Digital Art Award: Mayra Andrade, Napa Valley Community College, Freshman 

Teacher May Jong writes this about Mayra:

​​Mayra is a dedicated student and mother. She is creative and thoughtful. Her works have a sensitivity in style, technique, and content as exemplified by this logo she created for a mock therapy business. Her quiet manner is calming to the class. Her insights and feedback are helpful to her classmates.

High School Level Winners

Visual Art Award (TIE): Eva Winkler, Justin-Siena High School, Sophomore

Teacher Aleta Andrews writes this about Eva:

Eva is an exceptional human being. She has overcome more than most students her age and has this resiliency and wisdom that is evident to all her teachers and many of her peers. She is like the dark horse in that she is so humble, unassuming, quiet, and yet so incredibly multi-talented. After speaking with other teachers, I found that she excels not just in my class but all her classes. She has this quiet confidence that is truly amazing…She is one of those students that I will never forget.

Visual Art Award (TIE): Dex Calderon, Valley Oak High School, Senior  

Teacher JoAnn Clark explains how Dex uses art as a way to express and explore himself through the ever-changing and complex world of a high school student. His work is so successful that he is the featured artist in the office at American Canyon High School.

Digital Art Award (TIE): Maxwell Smith, New Tech High School, Freshman 

Teacher Lisa Gottfried writes this about Maxwell:

Max is one of those students who not only catches on to concepts very quickly, but he’s also quick to turn around and help a fellow student. He’s diligent, intelligent, and thoughtful, all attributes that come through in his Digital Art. He’s adept at Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco. He’s a constant and anchoring presence in class and makes all of his classmates better simply by being himself. His attention to detail and precision makes him an ideal candidate for Graphic Design. I can not wait to see what this student creates as they continue with their high school career here at New Tech.

Digital Art Award (TIE): Molly Kohl, Vintage High School, Sophomore

Teacher Julia Zmed writes this about Molly:

Molly’s tireless growth and creative drive, since she was my student in 8th grade, has been inspiring.  After completion of a  digital design assignment at the end of the year, I noticed her natural skill in creating clean and thoughtful design. Her natural inclination has only grown into an incredible skill set over the last two years under the tutelage of Shawn Sandahl at Vintage.  Just recently, she won 3rd in a design competition for Visual Media Alliance, losing only to college students. She says she loves working collaboratively, brainstorming, and listening to “the client.”

3D Art Award (TIE): Shayne Sweet, Oxbow School, Junior  

Teacher Patrick Foy writes this about Shayne:

Shayne experiments widely with various materials and processes and always accepts a challenge. In a recent Painting and Sculpture project, Shane created a large-scale installation composed of life-sized painted figures and everyday objects hanging in the space around them. 

Shayne describes their current work:

“This piece is about my relationship with my mother and the memories I have tied to her…The objects hanging around us are all relevant to our relationship, whether they have specific memories tied to them or are more largely representative of who we are.”

Band & Orchestra Award (TIE): Talia Ricci, St. Helena High School, Senior 

Teacher Anna-Alicia Fullmer writes this about Talia:

I have known Talia for six years …as a member of the SHUSD Band Program from the seventh grade. Talia is a member of the Jazz Band and Concert Band under my direction and has earned superior grades in music, science, and math. Talia excelled in performance in percussion and has served as the Percussion Section Leader and Band Officer throughout high school. Her ability to perform in class as well as on stage is quite impressive, as she is always willing to take risks with challenging music and direct her fellow classmates during rehearsal.

In addition to her musical abilities, Talia is also a natural-born leader and a positive role model for her peers. She is the SHHS Cross Country Team Girls’ captain, a two-time FFA Agri-Science Fair National Champion, and a member of both the Tri-M Music Honors Society and the California Scholarship Federation. I have witnessed on several occasions Talia’s patience and positive reinforcement when instructing peers and younger students alike. She is not only a very dedicated, responsible, and kind person, but possesses the ability to listen and make informed decisions under pressure.

Band & Orchestra Award (TIE): Nigel Quirk, American Canyon High School, Senior 

Teacher Brendan Day writes this about Nigel:

Nigel is a talented and dedicated performer on the string bass, electric bass, and in percussion. Nigel performs in our jazz band, orchestra, marching band, and winter percussion ensemble. He is a recognized leader in all groups. He is a mentor to younger students and leads by strong example while remaining kind and welcoming to his peers. Nigel plans to major in music as a bass student after high school.

Choir Award: Justin Macaraeg, American Canyon High School, Senior 

Teacher Jamie Butler writes this about Justin:

It is difficult to imagine the choral and theater programs at ACHS without Justin (J-Mac) Macaraeg. In choir, he has been a multiple soloist, accompanist, section leader, and the most respected musician in the room since his first day at ACHS four years ago. In the past two years, he has earned leading roles on stage and in the classroom in the theater department. Academically, he ranks 16th in his very competitive class and boasts a perfect transcript, never earning anything less than an A-! He is kind, compassionate,  and willing to do many of the “small things” that help an organization be successful. He has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.

Theater Acting Award (TIE): Gavin Morrison, Napa High School, Junior

Teacher Patty Profitt writes this about Gavin:

Gavin Morrison, a junior in the NHS Theatre Arts program, has focused on his growth and development as an actor by participating in every acting opportunity. Last year…Gavin gave a skillful performance in the Advanced Drama production of Eurydice. In the last 18 months, he’s been in 9 plays and shows: Dreamlandia, Eurydice, Alice in Wonderland, N.V.E.F./Music Connection’s summer production of The Sound of Music, The Princess and the Goblin, Frankenstein, The Tempest, Radium Girls, and is currently in rehearsals for the role of Peredur in The Red Knight. I have been impressed with Gavin’s ability to stretch and take on new challenges as an actor.

Theater Acting Award (TIE): Micayla Santiago, American Canyon High School, senior 

Teacher Summer Heartt writes this about Micayla:

Micayla joined the drama program in her junior year, already having experience as a songwriter and singer [as a] Spotify verified ( artist name M Jade), writing, recording, and producing her own music & music videos. Her relentless drive and collaborative listening [are] instrumental. This year, Micayla has revamped our online ticketing system, been a key player in our publicity team, and is designing costumes. Micayla shows leadership and kindness while setting high expectations for her young actors as a director as well.

In February, [after performing at the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival] she started writing a song, which has since evolved into a one-act musical, which she is collaboratively writing with three other drama students. Micayla plans to attend Napa Valley College next year, with plans to study music and music production. Her wide and varied skills and hunger to learn and improve will certainly serve her well in her future in the arts.

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Visual Art Award (TIE): Maribel Marquez, Silverado Middle School, 8th Grade

Teacher Julia Zmed writes this about Maribel:

Maribel has been one of my favorite humans since I met her last year.  I was lucky enough to have her charming sibling, and couldn’t wait to get to know her! She has both a uniquely mysterious personality and talent that has blossomed in the 2 years since I’ve met her. She is quietly confident, relentlessly focused, and driven to (often) meticulous methods that take time outside of the classroom to finish the work assigned.  The end results are always stunning. She will be greatly missed next year, but her future is beyond bright.

Visual Art Award (TIE): Jaden Salii, St. Apollinaris Catholic School, 7th Grade

Teacher Michele Lemieux writes this about Jaden:

Jaden is a dedicated and focused artist. He loves to paint and will spend hours lost in his artwork. Currently, his favorite medium is acrylic paint. In addition to his fine art skills, Jaden is an accomplished vocalist and a soloist in the school choir. Jaden participates in extracurricular theater productions and singing performances and is a member of Studio G here in Napa. Jaden is generous with his time and talents, creating beautiful installations for the St. Apollinaris Art Team and singing at community fundraising events in Napa Valley.

Theater Acting Award: Miranda Dominguez, Vichy Elementary, 4th Grade

Teacher Sara Johnson writes this about Miranda:

Miranda is in both my 4th-grade classroom and after-school Drama Club.  Miranda is a shy and quiet girl in class, [but after] she joined my Drama Club…Miranda wowed us all onstage when seemingly out of nowhere, she spoke in a loud, confident voice…Miranda truly shined…She has a hidden talent for performing…Miranda is truly a joy to teach, and watch her find her place to be creative. In my opinion, she is the perfect person to receive this type of acknowledgment to encourage her to pursue her creative side.  Due to her quiet nature, my guess is that she gets overlooked, and just needed to have a venue to display her inner star.

Visual Art Award (TIE): Roland Parker, Phillips Magnet Elementary, 4th Grade

Teacher Shauna Kadel writes this about Roland:

Roland learned about the life and works of Piet Mondrian. Then, by first studying how Mr. Mondrian used a balance of shapes, colors, and sizes to create his art, Roland created his own unique version using scissors, glue, and primary colors of construction paper.

Visual Art Award (TIE): Marifer Alfaro Fernandez, Phillips Magnet Elementary, 5th Grade 

Teacher Jennifer Veveiros writes this about Marifer:

In my opinion, Marifer should be recognized because she did an amazing job looking at her hand and sketching it in great detail. She wanted to create a realistic drawing of a hand, and you can see a lot of time and effort went into the shading and the line details.