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March 2022 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 teachers and students. Ten students are recognized as Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners for March. Four students tied in two different categories– Digital & Studio Art. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony at the school year-end.

We are now accepting nominations for April 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 access to the nomination form. Nominations are due by the 25th of every month. 

Please visit our Facebook Page to see 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: ArtsCouncilNV.Org/Donations.

Here are March’s winners:

High School Level Winners

Studio Art: Liliana Carreon, Vintage High School Junior

Liliana Carreon’s skill set has grown to a level that astounds her teacher Crystal Clark and fellow students alike, with just two years of art under her belt. Liliana is always diligent and creative, and Clark adds that she “is thoughtful about her work and engaged in everything she does.” She is also a kind and positive human whose brightness shines onto others. Liliana credits her parents as her inspiration, working hard from scratch to make their family live their best life. 

3D Art: Keila Mata, Napa High School Senior

While Keila Mata prefers the potter’s wheel, her work on 3D clay projects beyond her comfort zone moves her. She diligently practices skills and then creatively incorporates these methods into new and exciting one-of-a-kind works. Specifically, Keila highlights her feminine vessel saying: “I sculpted this to represent the simplicity of the flesh that holds the most important organ in the human body: The Brain.” She explains that the brain is often overlooked, and instead, the body or face takes precedence. Keila finishes by saying: “Looks should not determine the value of someone, but the thoughts of an individual should. This is why I chose to turn this into a vase so that the flowers it holds can represent the colorful and beautiful mind of the human race.”

Theater Arts: Rylind Richmond,
Napa High School Senior

The consistency of excellence of Rylind Richmond’s work is why her teacher Patty Profitt chooses to highlight her as an artist. Specifically, her portrayal of the title role Eurydice pushes her into the realm of greatness. “This beautifully written character called for a nuanced depiction, and Rylind’s performance was exceptional.” Rylind was rightfully placed in advanced drama as a freshman and remains engaged and growing. She also currently holds the title of Vice President of the Thespian Society. Her past “roles” in the theater department include Hermione in Andromache, assistant director for Dreamlandia, costume designer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and actor for Ashland Falls and Little Shop of Horrors. Rylind is genuinely a force!

Choir: Benjamin Stewart, Napa High Senior

Both Benjamin’s teacher and peers respect him as a true leader. With his “booming basso profundo voice,” he is known to take the lead in directing during rehearsals, says his teacher Duncan Cooper. His technical skills in music match his leadership acumen. He has been a student in the Advanced Choir since his Sophomore year and a section leader for two. Stepping outside of choir, he portrayed the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors and is an accomplished composer. Combined with this skill set, he was granted acceptance to Oberlin Conservatory for the arts in their composition program, where he is sure to shine.

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Digital (TIE): Dan Patton, American Canyon Middle School 8th Grade   

Teacher Jenifer Leahy describes Dan as a profound thinker who “connects his hand to his imagination.” With his newest artistic endeavor, digital art, storytelling has become his focus. He combines creative yet straightforward forms and text “to convey his thoughts in a beautiful, natural way,” says Leahy.

Digital Arts (TIE): Julia Carr, St. Apollinaris 7th Grade

Julia is described as a dedicated, focused & imaginative artist and student by her teacher Michele Lemieux: “She is disciplined and works intently while allowing her creativity to flow.” While painting is her focus, she is recently tacking digital artwork and achieving success. While her artistic style and skills continue to mature, she also serves on the student leadership team at St. Apollinaris, where she was elected Public Relations Commissioner, and volunteers at Agape in Napa.

Studio Arts: Sofia Ruiz, Silverado Middle School 7th Grade

Every day, Sofia walks into her classroom with a huge smile and a generosity of spirit. Beneath this jubilant sweetness lies an incredibly dedicated artist who becomes laser-focused the moment her pencil hits the paper. She is a natural artist whose skills grow with every project because of her ceaseless effort and respect for her artwork. Sofia’s teacher, Julia Zmed, says she “cares deeply about her work, and is genuinely one of the kindest students I’ve had. Her artistic abilities seem boundless!”

Choir: Celeste Truong,
American Canyon Middle School 8th Grade 

As a member of ACMS’s early flight Morning Chorale, Celeste shines as a strong leader, brilliant music reader, hard worker, and beautiful singer. Her teacher Deborah Walden says that “she is definitely a standout among her choir peers” because of these solid skills and beaming positivity. Celeste is also an Oboist in the Napa Valley Youth Symphony’s Sinfonia, tackling one of music’s most notoriously tricky instruments. Simply put: “she is a gem,” says Walden. 

Studio Art (TIE): Adela Colin, Phillips 5th Grade   

Adela Colin’s teacher Jennifer Veveiros explains that “In honor of Women’s History Month and Disabilities Awareness Month, we focused on the artist Frida Kahlo.” Adela learned about Frida’s favorite pet Parrot named Bonito, and chose him as her muse. She selected a bright red piece of paper as her background and then carefully applied and blended her oil pastels to create this vibrant and beautiful work of art.

Studio Art (TIE): Eduardo Campos Lopez, Phillips 5th Grade

Shauna Kadel, Eduardo’s teacher, recently taught her students all about artist Rene Magritte and the Surrealist art movement. Eduardo beautifully combined realism and perspective with the ideas of floating random objects and a dash of his personality to create this one-of-a-kind composition.