December '21 & January '22 VAPA Students of the Month

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

The Arts Council Napa Valley Education Alliance is privileged to award the following teachers and students. Eleven students are recognized as Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners for December/January. Eight students tied in two different categories– Visual & Theater Arts. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony at the school year-end.

We are now accepting nominations for February ACNVEA SOM from College, High School, Middle School, and Elementary level from visual and performing arts teachers throughout the county. Please go to the Arts Council Napa Valley website for more information and to access the nomination form. Nominations are due by the 25th of every month.

Here are December/January winners:

High School Level Winners

Studio Art (TIE): Nellie (Helen) Terrien, Oxbow School Junior

Nellie is a woman beyond her years. According to her teachers (past and present), her talents and mind are to be admired. Her teacher Jennifer Jordan says Nellie “explores how the subconscious portrays one’s personality.” Her most current body of work likens the ideals of clowning to the false emotions humans represent daily through facial expression. With her unique and independent spirit, Nellie has an incredibly bright future.

Studio Art (TIE): Perla Maciel Serrano, Napa High School Sophomore 

Perla is a force of creativity and passion. “Every mark she makes is personal and driven with intention,” says her teacher Kristi Crickmore. Her “outside the box” approach to her work creates thoughtful and reflective images. Perla’s most common subject is humans portrayed with boldness and strength through the use of a myriad of materials. We look forward to seeing Perla’s work continue to evolve and amaze.

Theater Arts (TIE): Collin-Jonah Yan,
American Canyon High School Senior

Collin Yan is one of ACHS Theater department secret ingredients as their multi-hyphenate in-residence: lighting technician, actor, and singer. As a technician, Collin is a professional who pushes his limits by creating increasingly complex lighting. Earlier this year, he surprised everyone by landing the Lead role in CLUE. His teacher Summer Heartt says his “commitment to character, his natural physical comedy and timing, and tenacious resolve for the show to go on are an inspiration to his classmates.” Finally, Collin is displaying his vocal talents to sing two songs for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Heartt finishes by saying, “a student artist like this does not come along often, and he is so deserving of this recognition.”

Theater Arts (TIE): Erin Fleming, Napa High School Senior

A pandemic cannot stop the talent and devotion of a true artist. Erin Fleming has tirelessly worked to support, create, choreograph, direct and perform theatre, from her freshman year and through Covid-19’s interruption.  Erin’s nonstop drive has earned her this second VAPA SOM award. Recently Erin performed in NHS Theatre Arts’ production of Andromache to rave reviews. Further, Erin is the president of troupe 4460 of the International Thespian Society, directed a successful student production of Ashland Falls, and landed the role of Audrey in the upcoming NHS choir production of Little Shop of Horrors. As a senior, Erin looks back at a trove of work: A Tale of Two Cities, Cinderella, Shuddersome, Trap, Little Women, Andromache, Ashland Falls, Little Shop of Horrors. Erin is an unstoppable force of nature!

Music/Choir: Angie Driscoll, American Canyon High Senior

Teacher Jamie Butler describes Angie as “the heart and soul of our choir program.” Angie’s talent and reliability match her buoyant and joyful personality that is the “encouragement every room needs.”  She has also been involved with cheer, currently holds a  leadership position in the Active Minds Club (which works to promote awareness of and provide resources for mental illnesses),  is a student conductor in the choir program, works the maximum number of hours every week at her job, figure skates, and somehow still has time to spread joy: Angie is known to write random notes of encouragement and affirmation to her classmates to help brighten their days. Butler says, “she is truly a one-of-a-kind young person that has already learned the importance of lifting others up… I feel very lucky to be her teacher.” She is destined for greatness indeed!

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Digital: Kingston Flemming, American Canyon Middle School 7th Grade

Kingston is a well-rounded artist who is advanced well beyond his years. His inherent skill is partly thanks to his creative legacy and inspiration. His father is a graphic designer and his grandparents are stained glass artists. Kingston has taken this talent and pushed it into his domain; he creates figurative works and portraits utilising multiple mediums, from Copic markers to his current passion: Photoshop. His teacher Jenifer Leahy is endlessly impressed by Kingston’s boundless talents. 

Studio Arts (TIE): Haylee-Rose Tennant, St. Apollinaris 8th Grade

Haylee-Rose always has her head in her sketchbook consistently and beautifully working with different styles and materials to create her own brand of art. She also uses her time and creative skills for others: Haylee-Rose knits scarves for the homeless population in Napa and puts together care packages for the military stationed overseas. When her teacher Michele Lemieux spoke with Haylee-Rose about her art, she said: “Whenever I am doing art, it brings me to a tranquil place and gives me peace of mind. I always put my heart and soul into whatever I do.”

Studio Arts (TIE): Belén Miller, River Middle School, 8th Grade 

Belén Miller’s exceptional drawing skills come naturally to her. Her teacher Hollie Hardwick says that with very little training, her “visual acuity” is seen in her portraits. Belén’s work is proportionally sound, with beautiful shading and texture. She keeps not 1 but 2 sketchbooks to hone her skills in her free time. Here are Belén’s own words about art: “Art isn’t everyone’s interest, but I think it’s important to learn creativity, express yourself, be patient, and understand what style is best for you.” In ACNVEA’s opinion, truer words have never been spoken. 

Band/Orchestra: Lauren Ranada,
American Canyon Middle School 8th Grade 

As lead viola of American Canyon Middle School String Orchestra and Alto in the Morning Chorale (ACMS early flight Choir), Lauren’s exceptional abilities & positive and encouraging nature shine. Lauren is a natural leader, helpful to her fellow students, and never shies away from asking questions for deeper understanding. Her teacher Deborah Walden says the Music Department is lucky to have Lauren with her profound grasp of music theory, helpful nature, and incredible work ethic.

Studio Art (TIE): Victor Corona Palmas, Phillips 5th Grade   

Victor’s teacher Jen Veveiros says he “has a real eye for art” and explains that he takes even a cookie-cutter project into his creative direction. Using construction paper, Victor layered different colors to produce this artwork that pulls inspiration from a Native American Thanksgiving prayer. Veveiros says he works with precision and focus to manifest works of his “own vision.”

Studio Art (TIE): Haily Stiltz,Willow Elementary, 5th Grade   

Haily is a contemplative and expressive artist. Her teacher Corey Morton explains that her Realistic / Abstract self-portrait showcases her natural skills in drawing and color, which accompanies the careful and creative details. Her hard work always pays off, and her artwork always shines!