March 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 teachers and students. Sixteen students are recognized as March’s Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony that will take place at the school year’s end.

We are now accepting nominations for April ACNVEA SOM from College, High School, Middle School, and Elementary level 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: ArtsCouncilNV.Org/Donations.

Here are March’s  winners:

College Level Winners

Digital Art Award: Anika Sevilla, Napa Valley Community College, Freshman 

Teacher May Jong writes this about Anika:

Anika is an exemplary student. She has a natural eye for art and design, yet consistently challenges herself to make better work. She also helps classmates with feedback and technical assistance. Anika is a creative and thoughtful student with a bright future in art and design.

High School Level Winners

Performance Art Award: Colette St. Aubin, Vintage High School, Senior 

Teacher Jennifer LaMonte writes this about Colette:

Colette’s most notable accomplishment to date is unprecedented: Colette won the Napa County Poetry Out Loud competition in February and then proceeded to the final round of the state championships, making it to the top ten out of over 16,000 competitors! She memorized and recited all three poems by Margaret Atwood, Claude McKay, and Emily Dickinson with an emotional depth and a keen awareness of tone and message. Her prodigious level of dedication and commitment to the art of poetry as an extracurricular endeavor has made her accomplishments truly stellar.

Visual Art Award (TIE): Ella Gray, Valley Oak High School, Senior 

Teacher Evrim Cakir writes this about Ella:

Many people carry the assumption that artistic ability is innate; something one is either blessed with at birth or not. The truth is that like any skill, it’s the product of practice, determination, and will. Ella is diligent in completing her assignments, takes what I challenge my students with to new interpretive heights and is a leader in the class.

Visual Art Award (TIE): Bianca Gudino, Vintage High School, Sophomore 

Teacher Crystal Clark writes this about Bianca:

A brilliant visual artist, Bianca is also a competitive dancer. She maintains straight A’s and is blossoming into an astounding young artist. Over the last year and half I have seen her grow immensely, both in her skill set and her confidence. Her work gets stronger with each project she encounters. She has explored abstract to realistic work and does well with all of it. I am so proud of the work she has done and look forward to working with Bianca as she continues her Art journey with me next year and beyond.

Digital Art Award: Jacob O’Sullivan, New Tech High School, Sophomore 

Teacher Lisa Gottfried writes this about Jacob:

Jacob continues to devour whatever lessons are put before him. He’s self-motivated and a natural leader in class. His design eye shows that he pays attention to both the detail and the overall aesthetic of each piece he creates. He is both a team player and a solid and stable influence in the classroom.

Band & Orchestra Award: Chloe Mischa Sanchez, American Canyon High School, Senior 

Teacher Brendan Day writes this about Chloe:​​

Mischa Sanchez joined the ACHS band/orchestra program as a junior playing cymbals. This year, as a senior, she joined the marching band to play the baritone horn, the jazz band where she plays trombone, enrolled this Spring in our orchestra to play bass, and is leading our cymbal line in this year’s winter percussion ensemble. Joining us without any prior experience playing an instrument, I’m astonished by how quickly she’s improved in all of these classes on all instruments. In just a short amount of time, Mischa has managed to make herself a significant presence and a positive influence across our music department.

Choir Award: Caitlyn Mendoza, American Canyon High School, Senior 

Teacher Jamie Butler writes this about Caitlyn:

Caitlyn is one of those special talents and personalities that do not come around too often! She has a dynamic solo voice and has been one of the guiding voices in the alto section during her four years here at ACHS. Simply put, Caitlyn is one of the kindest and most talented students I’ve ever taught. Whatever she does in life, she will bring her talent and compassion, and she will be a great success! Proud to be her teacher!

Theater Acting Award (TIE): Grace Exum, Napa High School, Junior

Teacher Patty Profitt writes this about Grace:

Grace has been in drama all three years. She works hard both onstage and behind the scenes to support our productions… She has spent the past year auditioning for every production offered and has earned increasingly challenging roles culminating in the role of Grace Fryer in our current production of Radium Girls. In the past 12 months Grace has performed in Alice in Wonderland, N.V.E.F./Music Connection’s summer production of The Sound of Music, The Princess and the Goblin, Frankenstein, and The Tempest.

Theater Acting Award (TIE): Gabriel Logan Reyes, American Canyon High School, senior 

Teacher Summer Heartt writes this about Gabriel:

This is Gabriel’s first year in the drama program. After an incredibly memorable performance last spring in the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee it was like a fire was lit inside him. Gabe is one of the most dependable, patient, and kind students I have ever had the pleasure to teach. He embodies my drama teacher motto “every day is an audition.” When he found out that we would be doing Newsies for our spring musical, fought hard to get the part of Jack Kelly in our spring production. He is a leader in every rehearsal, performing every day like we have a sold-out audience, even to an empty theater. Gabriel embodies the spirit of theater – a collaborator, a creative designer, a kind leader, and a focused artist.

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Visual Art Award: Sadie Clary, Silverado Middle School, 7th Grade

Teacher Julia Zmed writes this about Sadie:

Sadie’s artwork blew me away when she was just 11 years old in 6th grade. Now in 7th, she progresses so rapidly and exponentially my head spins, but like so many wildly talented people she is unassuming: thoughtful, humble, and a ridiculously hard worker. I am always proud of her, and look forward to another year of watching her flourish and create!

Theater Acting Award: Luna Ahlstrom, Silverado Middle School, 7th Grade

Teacher Brian Beggs writes this about Luna:

Luna has done an amazing job in her first year in the Performing Arts program at Silverado Middle School. In “Annie”, our Spring Musical, Luna played the role of Miss Hannigan and delivered great acting and singing performances. Luna is also a great student and sets a positive example for other students to follow. Luna is a hard worker and takes direction very well. She is also respectful and kind to others. We hope she continues with acting and singing in high school!

Band Award: Julian Damron, Silverado Middle School, 8th Grade

Teacher Brian Beggs writes this about Julian:

Julian has been a valuable part of the Silverado Advanced Band this year. In his first year at SMS, Julian has shown great potential as a trombone player and was elected Vice President of the SMS Performing Arts ASB group. In addition to playing trombone at SMS, Julian plays trombone in the Napa Valley Youth Symphony Sinfonia. Julian is a positive person and always willing to help others. Julian will be a great addition to his high school music program!

Visual Art Award (TIE): Jonathan Ruelas, Bel Aire Park Magnet School, 4th Grade

Teacher Tere Charney writes this about Jonathan:

Jonathan is an exceptional artist for his young age. He is fearless in his focused art application. As an art educator, his ability has caught my attention. He is a humble and kind person. He comes to art with a detailed eye and his compositions are always original and creative. He truly stands out as an incredible artist!

Visual Art Award (TIE): Itza Nol Ortiz, Phillips Magnet Elementary, 5th Grade 

Teacher Jennifer Veveiros writes this about Itza:

For Black History Month, students studied Faith Ringgold. She made story quilts to express her culture and family memories. Itza did the same with her art piece. She shows herself going out for ice cream with her family. She also made a beautiful frame around the art piece to simulate the appearance of a quilt square. Itza’s detail of her and her mom in the oil pastel shows her talent for drawing and the use of blending with different colors on construction paper.

Visual Art Honorable Mention: Diego Reveles, Snow Elementary, 4th Grade

Teacher Nikki Youngberg writes this about Diego:

Diego is definitely someone I would want to call a friend. Although he excels in all academic areas, Diego is thoughtful, kind, and humble when working with others. He knows when he to be the leader or let someone else have that experience. Diego puts 100% effort into anything he’s working on – even if I know that he might prefer not to do it at all. Calm, empathetic, and content is another way to describe his demeanor. I know Diego will continue to impact the people around him in a positive way.

Visual Art Honorable Mention: Yaslynn Garcia-Avalos, Phillips, 4th Grade 

Teacher Jennifer Ellison writes this about Yaslynn:

Yaslynn used both traditional and digital art to create a piece that explores her identity. This included a self-portrait and various words to express her thoughts about herself. This powerful piece is a bold expression from a generally quiet student.