February 2023 VAPA Students of the Month!

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

The Arts Council Napa Valley Education Alliance (ACNVEA) is privileged to award the following students and teachers. Fifteen students are recognized as February’s Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony at the school year-end.

We are now accepting nominations for March ACNVEA SOM from College, High School, Middle School, and Elementary levels from the county’s visual and performing arts teachers. Nominations are due by the 25th of every month.

Please go to the Arts Council Napa Valley website for more information on the SOM program & Please visit our Facebook Page to see more images of this and past month’s SOM work. If you’d like to support this year’s Student of the Year ceremony, please consider donating toward the event at our website: ArtsCouncilNV.Org/Donations.

Here are February’s winners:

High School Level Winners

Theater Management Award: Bridget Novak, American Canyon High School, Senior

Teacher Summer Heartt writes this about Bridget:

”As my stage manager and right hand, Bridget is organized, supportive, and kind. She is an exceptional thinker and communicator who I trust completely to run the show while I (the director) sit in the audience. While it may seem that stage managing is not an art in itself, I would beg to differ…Bridgit shows agility, intelligence, and exceptional communication skills….She plans to attend a UC next year and study directing, stage management, or maybe teaching!”

Theater Acting Award: Favian Alcantar Toscano, Napa High School, Senior 

Teacher Patty Profitt writes this about Favian:

”As a senior, Favian is new to the Napa High School Theatre Arts program. He has been in two plays this year and will soon be auditioning for a role in our upcoming production, Radium Girls. He is auditioning at my request, based on his solid performances in Frankenstein and The Tempest. Both plays featured challenging, sometimes archaic, dialogue which Favian picked up and memorized readily…In addition to quickly developing his skills as an actor, Favian brings a responsible, grounded level of commitment to any production he is involved with.”

Set Design Award: Abigail Thurmon, American Canyon High School, Senior

Teacher Summer Heartt writes this about Abigail:

“Abigail is a gifted visual artist, with an innate sense of proportion and a clever way of capturing character in her inspired digital art pieces. This fall, she seized the opportunity to create sets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, which was one of our most technically challenging set designs in the history of our program. Abby was also recently awarded a GOLD MEDAL in the area of Set Design for her presentation and design for our spring musical Newsies at the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival.”

Dance Award (TIE): Maya Bose, Justin Siena High School, Senior

Teacher Laura Kelley-Weakley writes this about Maya:

“Maya’s dance performance in the school musical production of “Oklahoma” is breathtaking and inspirational. She carries her role in the ballet dream scene as the character of Laurey with passion, delight, and pain…She transcends the stage, taking her audience with her into the dreamlike state effortlessly. She’s a dedicated, hardworking student. Her recent success can be credited, in part, to her theatre and dance instructors who support, teach, and guide her, but also to Maya’s dedication to excellence.”

Dance Award (TIE): Jenny Herrera, Napa High School, Senior

Teacher Hollie Johnson writes this about Jenny:

“Jenny started in our dance level 1 class, then moved up to level 2, then level 3 and level 4 including auditioning and making the Breakers team and competition Gold Spiritleader team where she and her team just placed 1st in 3 dance divisions at the USA Northern California Dance Regional championships. She puts in the daily effort and positive attitude to get where she is now! She also has a 4.3 GPA and is a Dance Officer where she mentors others students. I’m so proud of her!”

Visual Art Award (TIE): Mia Nagle, Oxbow School, Junior

Teacher Alexeis Reyes writes this about Mia:

“Mia’s dedication to dive deeper into printmaking, combined with her commitment to understanding the processes, materials and tools, allows her to flourish as an artist. She approaches image-making with curiosity. In printmaking, she explored monotypes, mono-prints, linocuts, and copper etching techniques such as drypoint and aquatint. Mia relies on her drawing skills, which allows her to make extensive study drawings. The prints are a visual examination of how wetlands are disappearing along with their unique ecosystems, diminished by climate change over time.”

Visual Art Award (TIE): Roman Topete, Justin Siena High School, Senior

Teacher Aleta Andrews writes this about Roman:

“Roman is an extraordinary student– one of those kids that is truly wise beyond their years. This is only his second year taking Art, but he has completely embraced it and now identifies himself with being an activist artist.”

Roman says this about his own work: “God’s Will” is a representation of the stripping of Native American identity through pilgrims’ forced Christian beliefs. This is relevant because American history is taught in a biased format that has switched the role of the true aggressor. “God’s Will” shows what really happened to Native Americans on a metaphorical and physical standpoint.”

Digital Art Award: Lourdes Lopez DA, New Tech High School Gottfried, Junior 

Teacher Lisa Gottfried writes this about Lourdes:

“Lourdes is totally at home in the motion graphic world. She created a wonderfully advanced piece for the Napa Lighted Arts Festival this year that impressed many an attendee. She is an independent and fully engaged learner and helps her classmates when needed. She’s got a promising career in animation or motion graphics ahead of her, if she chooses.”

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Visual Art Award (TIE): Angy Ramirez Rojas, Silverado Middle School, 8th Grade

Teacher Julia Zmed writes this about Angy:

”Angy doesn’t skip a beat. She uses every second of her time in class to create works that reflect who she is: Her deep and personal love of music to her well-developed aesthetic sensibility.  She is still a bit of a mystery to me, but always leaves me incredibly proud and excited for her next project!”

Visual Art Award (TIE): Angely Gallegos Mejia, Redwood Middle School, 7th Grade 

Teacher  Andrew Winegarner writes this about Angely:

“Angely is a wonderful student, always diligently working on class assignments. She always produces detailed and thoughtful art pieces, as evidenced by her Self-Portrait.”

Band & Orchestra Award (TIE): Katherine Lopez, Silverado Middle School, 8th Grade

Teacher Brian Beggs writes this about Katherine:

“Katherine has been in the SMS Orchestra class for three years.  Over those three years, Katherine has consistently improved and has always accepted challenges and strived to continue improving…Katherine has been a reliable, responsible, consistently positive student and I think she will do very well in high school.”

Band & Orchestra Award (TIE): Kevin Ramos, Silverado Middle School, 8th Grade

Teacher Brian Beggs writes this about Kevin:

Kevin has been a great student in the SMS Advanced Band class this year. Kevin has great playing skills and also does a great job of describing musical concepts and sounds in written assignments. Kevin is reliable, dependable, and responsible and is a very positive person. Kevin helps other students and is respectful to others at school.

Visual Art Award (Tie): Bruno Corro, Phillips Magnet Elementary, 1st Grade

Teacher Paula Sotiras writes this about Bruno:

”Bruno used warm watercolors to paint spirals, practiced brush control, and used a black marker to draw a penguin with lines and shapes to create this beautiful work of art.”

Visual Art & Theater Award: Jessica Kreitz, Willow Elementary, 4th Grade

Teacher Shannon Hattyar writes this about Jessica:

“Jessica is a talented Visual Artist, paying close attention to all the details of each specific technique, practicing, and then executing with skill and often, her own creative twist. She is a thoughtful artist, sketching and taking her time to plan out and complete her compositions with care. Jessica also excels in the Performing Arts, stretching her body and using facial expressions to depict and communicate the tone or lyrics of a song or a piece of text…she is so committed to being creative, imaginative, and inspired through the arts.”

Band & Orchestra: Michael Smith, Alta Heights Elementary School, 4th Grade

Teacher Leslie Gracia writes this about Michael:

Michael plays the cello. Recently, he earned his “Diamond Belt” for playing Gavotte, solo, in front of a packed room full of his peers. Alta Heights is SO PROUD of Michael! His dedication to learning the cello, and his perseverance as a young musician, is truly spectacular.”