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May 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 students and teachers. Twenty-one students are recognized as Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners for the month of May. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony that will take place at the di Rosa Preserve on June 8th, 2022. 

This was our final month accepting nominations for the 21/22 School Year, from High School, Middle School, and Elementary levels from visual and performing arts teachers throughout the county. This school year we had almost 100 nominations for Student of the month as our most successful year to date!

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 May’s winners:

High School Level Winners

Band (Tie): Mia Meadows, Vintage High School Senior

Teacher Brendan Galvin Writes:

“Mia [has] amazing leadership of the marching band as the drum major this year – her vision to make the focal point of the marching band and color guard more centered on the people in our organization reshaped our entire world for the better. Her dedication to her instrument [the flute] has brought tears to my eyes while conducting her solo passages in our shows. While remarkably talented, Mia’s high level of musicianship is the product of her continual pursuit of mastery of her instrument. Finally, this year marked an amazing transition within our school community brought on by Mia’s connection to the student body of Vintage: they truly enjoyed seeing our performances throughout the year. Mia has humanized an art form (that is slowly dying) for a generation less and less interested in Instrumental Music.”

Band (Tie): Andre Oliveira, Vintage High School Senior

Teacher Brendan Galvin Writes:

It would be impossible to describe the intellectual level, the strength of character, and the wonderfully unique genius Andre has achieved, all on his own. Having taught Andre for four years in Instrumental music, to the outside observer, it would appear that Andre possesses raw musical talent; however, having had the honor to witness Andre in action, I can tell you that its true basis lies within the countless hours of personal practice and Andre’s persistence to attain mastery. He is beyond the top of the class, surpassing every benchmark that the absolute brightest star students strive to achieve – he operates on a different level.”

Studio Art (TIE): Jazmin Santos, Napa High School Senior

Teacher Kristi Crickmore Writes:

“Jazmin has been a dedicated artist quietly perfecting her craft over the years. She has developed a beautiful skill working with charcoal this year. She has created a series of black and white charcoal pieces on toned paper that showcase her talent and hard work.”

Studio Art (TIE):  Isabella Muromoto, Justin-Siena High School Junior

Teacher Aleta Andrews Writes:

“Bella is extremely dedicated to her artwork, and it is something she will pursue in college. She is currently in Advanced Art and will be taking Advanced Placement in her Senior year.  I cannot say enough good things about Bella. I am really proud of Bella and her continued resilience as she continues her pursuit in the arts.“

Digital Art (TIE): Pyper Hillgrove, American Canyon High School Senior

Teacher Adam Musto Writes:

“Pyper is a star! She is a multi-disciplinary wonder.  She is a talented potter and ceramicist,  a drawing and painting whiz and, her digital art is professional grade.  Additionally, she will be attending BYU Idaho to study Graphic Arts.”

Digital Art (TIE): Perla Herrera, Justin-Siena High School Freshman

Teacher Monica Jacobson Writes:

“Perla is passionate in her art pursuit. She is focused, curious and open to exploration. As a freshman, she has a maturity beyond her years. Her love of making art is obvious. She is a joy to have as a student.”

3D Art: Phoebe Smith, Napa High School  Senior

Teacher Melinda Miller Writes:

“Phoebe is an Incredible artist with endless ideas for making art that give her viewers an opportunity to develop their own thoughts about what the art is saying to them. She pushes materials and ideas to the limit and always recovers with a fresh perspective of what she was wanting. Phoebe ties history into all her work with a flare of Feminism & Power/Rights. Her Red Baron Coil Pot is driven to be the ace of this clay method. Like the Red Baron himself, Phoebe Smith is a constant power of female ideas and art.”

Theater (TIE): Cesar Ramirez, Napa High School Senior

Teacher Patty Profitt Writes:

“Like many of my students, Cesar was at first a bit reluctant to perform on stage when he joined the program as a sophomore. This year, as a senior, Cesar was cast as Lazaro in Dreamlandia and performed in the thespian production of Ashland Falls. With the former, he took on a daunting memorization task, while the latter allowed him to develop his comic timing. In his last year, he has become an integral part of our program: auditioning for the Advanced drama production of Eurydice as a Drama 2 student and then filling in for a last-minute role in the Drama 1 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He followed this by auditioning for the current production of Alice in Wonderland, where he’ll play both the Chesire Cat and Humpty Dumpty. Because of his hard work and interest, Cesar’s transformation as a student of theatre is an inspiration to other students who find themselves in a drama class.”

Theater (TIE): Essence Hardiman, American Canyon High School Senior

Teacher Summer Heartt Writes:

“For the past four years at ACHS, Essence has been a passionate contributor to the Theatre Arts program. Since returning to school in person, Essence has become a leader and advocate in Theatre Arts. This last fall, Essence portrayed Miss Scarlet in our fall production of CLUE On Stage. Additionally, she was the lead designer for the hair & makeup crew of CLUE,  choreographer for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and co-president of the Thespian Society. Essence’s onstage roles included: Cassidy in Brainstorm (2018-19), a dancer in Bring It On: The Musical (2018-19), and an understudy to Kaliope in She Kills Monsters (2019-20). As an actor, she is exceptionally prepared in her performance, a positive and willing collaborator, and a devoted theatre artist. Essence’s plans for next year are yet to be determined, but she hopes to pursue a career in acting.

Choir: Kester Alejandrino, American Canyon High School Senior

Teacher Jamie Butler Writes:

“Talented, Kind, and Joyful are the three best words to describe Kester Alejandrino. One of the most talented singers in the program who never shies away from a solo or leading his section. His inclusive spirit is felt all throughout the choir program as he leads by example and by taking time to get to know and inspire younger singers. Finally, no one exudes joy from singing quite like Kester. He loves to sing, and it is written all over his face while performing. [I am] proud of what he has accomplished at all levels in the program and for all he does outside the choir room… great things await Kester in the future!”

Dance (TIE): Leigh Horvath, Vintage High School  Senior

Teacher Lisa Sullivan Writes:

“Leigh not only is a beautiful and talented dancer with amazing technical skill, but she also is our Dance Club

President and our Production Stage Manager. Leigh works in the three aspects of our program by performing in multiple routines throughout the year, overseeing our student body club events and meetings, as well as running all of the behind-the-scenes during our productions. She is a respected leader among her peers, empathetic yet assertive. I could not be more proud of Leigh. We are a better program because of her.

Dance (TIE): Maddy Raymond, Vintage High School Senior

Teacher Lisa Sullivan Writes:

“Maddy is a phenomenal and elegant dancer who continues to grow every day. She has persevered through two recent knee surgeries, and still, she dances. She is an inspiration to her peers.”

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Band (TIE): Lucero Bravo, Camille Creek Community School 8th Grade

Teacher John Hannaford Writes:

“Lucero entered my World Percussion program with no previous Music Background.  From day one, Lucero has been fully engaged in the class, starting from the very basics, basic tones, hand positions, tone development, learning individual parts, drum/instrument selections, acquisition of pattern /performance skills, learning arrangements, fundamental rhythmic awareness, aural differentiation, and onto arrangements, Lucero has been fully engaged on a daily basis.  In a class populated with students that have faced and have worked through challenges, Lucero has been a leader each and every day, modeling the best of academic work effort, cooperative behavior, on-task work ethic, and connection with the joy of music creation.”

Band (TIE): Yesenia Rubio Gonzalez, American Canyon Middle School 8th

“Yesenia is the flute section leader in the ACMS Concert Band. While she started as a percussionist, through distance learning during the 20/21 school year, Yesenia taught herself to play the flute with great skill, returning this year to become a top flute player. Deborah Walden says “Her dedication to her art is inspiring. This year Yesenia has tutored our beginning flute players with patience and expertise, and they have responded with amazing progress. In a surprising addition, Yesenia borrowed a school tuba and is now teaching herself to play the tuba! Yesenia is a gifted musician and is a great example to our middle school musicians.”

Digital Arts: Adrienne Govan-Smith, River Middle School 8th

The attached work is made up of still shots from an animation of her own initials that Adrienne tackled despite the brand new medium. With her calm personality, focus, and love for the arts, Adrienne is capable of creating anything she puts her mind to. 

Adrienne designed and Created the “Goodbye”  poster/banner for River School and in the process “learned a lot about submissions, resubmissions, and working with a client’s expectations,” says teacher Hollie Hardwick. Hardwick finishes by saying: “Adrienne Govan Smith, is not only a serious artist in the making, but she is also a model student,  courteous, kind, and respectful. Most importantly she understands re-takes, re-dos, and  accepts the help and suggestions.”  

Studio Art (TIE): Adel Kabangu, American Canyon Middle School 7th

Adel truly lives and breathes art.  It is clearly important to her as a valuable daily practice. While she gains inspiration from characters on tv, “she creates her own magical ones daily,” says teacher Jenifer Leahy. Her figurative art starts with pencil, then pen outline, but veers wildly from here: she will fill with chalk pastel, black charcoal, or watercolor-whatever, even sometimes going full digital. Leahy finishes by saying Adel is “not afraid to express her feelings on paper about current events and emotions that are tied to them that others might be feeling also.” 

Studio Art (TIE): Naomi Trujillo Jasso, Silverado Middle School 8th

Teacher Julia Zmed Writes:

Naomi is an all-around brilliant student who happens to be gifted artistically, all with a beautiful soul.  Naomi presents calm confidence and handles challenges with grace, both knowing when to ask for help and when to trust her own instincts. She is loyal and kind to her friends and helpful to fellow students who need a piece of creative advice. Through her efforts, her work has improved by leaps and bounds since distance learning last year. I hope she continues on her artistic journey into high school.”

Studio Art (TIE): Jayden Gonzalez & Anthony Villa Ochoa, Phillips Magnet Elementary School 4th

Teacher Paula Sotiras Writes:

“These 4th-grade students studied the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, an artist that was devoted to her heritage and filled her paintings with colorful animals, plants, and fruit. The art activity emphasis was to create a still life with line and color,  using oil pastels and paper.” Both Jayden (R) and Anthony (L)  created unique and brightly joyful works of art!

Digital Art (TIE): Angie Cortes Verduzco & Pablo Gutierrez Guzman, Phillips Magnet Elementary School 5th

Teacher Jennifer Veveiros writes:

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander month, and our class studied the artist Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese artist who makes her artwork look like organic shapes that resemble plant and animal cells. 

About Angie (L): Angie looked at Kusama’s artwork and designed her own beautifully organic masterpiece. She chose bold colors that contrast each other and look like an ocean of organelles.”

About Pablo (R): Pablo looked at Kusama’s artwork…chose dark colors that contrast each other and look like an ocean of organelles. Pablo’s keen eye for color and his unique shapes look as if they will swim right off the page!”