October 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. Twenty students are recognized as October’s Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners with three honorable mentions in the Elementary Arts. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony at the end of the school year.

We are now accepting nominations for November ACNVEA SOM from the county’s visual and performing arts teachers from College, High School, Middle School, and Elementary levels. 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.

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: ArtsCouncilNapaValley.Org/Donations.

Here are October’s winners:

College Level Winners

Hugo Gonzalez, Napa Valley College Freshman

Teacher May Jong writes this about Hugo:

As a student, he is thoughtful and constructive with his critique comments. He truly tries to help his classmates reach their goals. Hugo has grown a lot as an artist and student during this first semester in college.

High School Level Winners

Theater (Direction): Maya Maestas, American Canyon High School Senior

Teacher Summer Heartt  writes this about Maya:

Maya demonstrated sophisticated communication skills, planning, and big-picture visualizing as my assistant director for our fall play, Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood, at the most mature level. Maya is an organized and fair leader, and is able to communicate our expectations to the actors in a kind and firm manner. She takes her position very seriously. She hopes to become a theater teacher herself one day, and I can certainly see her as an arts educator, but no matter what her future holds, I know she will bring her big heart and compassionate spirit to her work.

Theater (Acting) TIE: Jayline Lazalde, American Canyon High School Senior

Teacher Summer Heartt  writes this about Jayline:

Jaylin is conscientious and efficient, always one step ahead of my requests as director. This fall, as Jayline is cast as one of the lead roles, Alanna Dale, in Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood. She brings her emotional insight and determined preparedness into this role as the sole woman archer in the tournament and narrator of the story. She is captivating to watch.

Theater (Acting) TIE: Nico Lopez-Magro, Napa High School Junior

Teacher Patty Profitt writes this about Nico:

Nico Lopez-Magro presents consistent support, dedication, and commitment to furthering their craft as an actor. Nico’s range as an actor helps to anchor our productions. Their acting skills have grown exponentially since their first role in the program little over a year ago. As Heathcliff, it was especially gratifying to see them embrace the challenges of playing an extremely complex character. In addition to acting skills, Nico is a talented visual artist who enjoys creating remarkable scenic paintings. Nico is a reliable problem solver who can always be counted on to help solve theater problems and is always willing to work.

3D Art: Sara Chavarria, American Canyon High School Junior

Teacher Adam Musto writes this about Sara:

Sara is a star! She proposed a complex project, and I am thoroughly impressed that she pulled it off. She is a great drawer, and her sculpting skills are exemplary. She has tremendous focus, is a joy to work with, and has a bright future as an artist or whatever she applies herself.

Studio/Traditional Art TIE: Gabriella Pelayo, Valley Oak High School Senior

Teacher Evrim Cakir writes this about Gabriella:

Gabby is an extraordinary artist known for their exceptional creative and design skills. Gabby consistently pushes artistic boundaries with innovative approaches to various mediums, from traditional to digital art. What truly distinguishes Gabby is their unparalleled skill in drawing from life, capturing intricate details and emotions in their work. Equally impressive is their talent for drawing from memory and imagination, creating captivating and immersive artistic worlds. They contribute positively to our artistic community, sharing their knowledge and fostering growth among peers.

Studio/Traditional Art TIE: Abigail Lair, New Technology High School Senior

Teacher Sarah Brown writes this about Abigail:

Abigail is new to this school and has jumped into my advanced art class with this beautifully calm yet powerful motivation to keep pushing herself. She Is always working not only on my projects but also on her own projects. She is interested in working with animals when she graduates and is already pursuing that path. Her intense interest and observations are evident in the amazing work she makes

Dance: Aaliyah Barrientos, Napa High SchoolSchool Senior

Teacher Hollie Johnson writes this about Aaliyah:

Aaliyah started in my beginning dance 1 level class. Aaliyah brought a daily positive attitude to class with an incredible work ethic. She is now in our most advanced class, dance 4. Aaliyah is also on our competition dance team, where she was selected as our dance captain. Aaliyah was such a great leader with a kind and encouraging presence; she was also selected as our Dance Officer for our dance level 2 class in our Dance Department. She now mentors intermediate dancers daily and is an incredible role model to them.

Multi-hyphen Arts Award: Morgan Riendeau, NapaHigh School Senior

Teacher and father Mike Riendeau writes this about his daughter Morgan:

Nepotism aside, Morgan is the Lead Sr. Captain of the Gold Team Spirit Leaders at Napa High, has been a spirit leader for four years, and in the dance department, taking dance classes all four years. Morgan is also a vocalist in the Concert Choir at Napa High in her junior year and continuing in her senior year. Last year, she auditioned and was selected into the elite Chamber Choir her senior year. Morgan started the Students for Mental Health Awareness Club here at Napa High. I know it is unusual and perhaps a conflict of interest for me, her Dad, to nominate her, but she is a humble kid, and, as an educator, I didn’t want her to go without a nomination as an incredible art student here in NVUSD.

Creative Writing: Katherine Marsden, American Canyon High School Senior

Teacher Summer Heartt writes this about Katherine:

Katie deeply understands storytelling, and, as a student director, has been able to encourage her actors to find an emotional connection to their characters, creating a moving and beautiful play about living every day as if it might be your last. The role in which Katir shines equally bright is her leadership in the marketing and publicity group for the show. Katie has led this group to create and write incredibly amusing promotion videos, press releases, social media events, and beautiful posters and design concepts to promote the shows. They have beat every deadline and have creative and cohesive design concepts.

Digital Art TIE: Gabi Miclat, Vintage High School Senior

Teacher Crystal Clark writes this about Gabi:

Gabi is in her third and final year with me as an AP Studio Art student. She is incredibly focused and dedicated to creating strong narrative works of art. Although Gabi is talented in many different mediums and styles, this year, her focus for her portfolio will be digital drawings illustrating connections between people and their environments. Gabi is a hard worker, an excellent student, and a kind human. She also happens to be our Artc Club C0-Treasurer. It’s been a pleasure watching her blossom over the last few years.

Digital Art TIE: Sam Sobelman, New Tech High School Senior

Arts Council Napa Valley Internship Manager Crysta Tim writes this about Sam:

Sam has done some great work so far in their internship with us. They’ve shown their skills in both graphic design and digital art since beginning their time at ACNV, alongside the art they already create in and out of school at New Tech. They’ve been killing it with Inktober prompts we’re completing as a duo together, using this time to explore utilizing brushes they’ve not tried before for their drawings. It’s been a great joy getting to know Sam as an artist, student, and person in the opening of this internship, and I look forward to hearing more about their ideas and seeing more of their creative work in the coming months!

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Theater (Acting) TIE: Autumn Terradista, Stone Bridge School 6th Grade

Teacher Emily Profitt writes this about Autumn:

Autumn is a very creative, thoughtful, and self-motivated young actor. I first directed Autumn as Mary in The Music Connection/NVUSD production of The Secret Garden. Autumn honed her skills in portraying emotions as the part called for anger, despair, and joy. Her most recent role was in the Napa High/NVEF production of Wuthering Heights, where she played young Hindley. It is a pleasure to direct Autumn, as she is always willing to work in any capacity. While not onstage, she can be found intently observing the stage manager at work, helping with a backstage quick change, or picking up a broom and sweeping the stage.

Theater (Acting) TIE: Payton Gauthier, Silverado Middle School 8th Grade

Teacher Brian Beggs writes this about Payton:

Payton is in his second year performing at SMS and continues to deliver great performances in the school plays and musicals. Payton is not only a great performer, but is a kind student who goes out of his way to help others and maintains a positive attitude during practice and performances. Payton happily takes on challenges and is a reliable, responsible student. We hope he continues with acting and performing when he goes to high school.

Band & Orchestra: Alexis Garcia Cortes, Silverado Middle School 8th Grade

Teacher Brian Beggs writes this about Alexis:

Alexis is in his third year playing trumpet at Silverado Middle School. Throughout his time playing music at SMS, Alexis has shown very strong musical skills and has steadily improved his trumpet playing and music reading. Alexis is reliable and responsible and sets a good example during class for others to follow. Alexis is helpful to others and will hopefully continue playing trumpet when he goes to high school.

Studio/Tradition TIE: Matteo Vazquez, Mayacamas Middle School 6th Grade

Teacher Aimee Reed-Heidenreich writes this about Matteo:

Matteo should be recognized as an ART student for the month because he put so much effort into his assignments. He is creative and adds his unique touch to his pieces. I look forward to seeing what Matteo accomplishes in Art this year.

Studio/Tradition TIE: Sahira Cendejas Carapia, Silverado Middle School 7th Grade

Teacher Julia Zmed writes this about Sahira:Sahira is one of the sweetest, warmest, loveliest humans I have ever had the pleasure of teaching.  What makes her work so special is you can feel this warmth in everything she creates.  She is naturally gifted but endlessly determined to improve and tackle new creative challenges. Nothing shakes her determination.  I cannot wait to see the art she continues to create throughout her time here at NVUSD.

Studio/Tradition TIE: Liam Morris, St. John’s Lutheran 4th Grade

Teacher Sandra Cassayre writes this about Liam:

Liam has outstanding artistic skills. From his class projects to his sketchbook drawings he creates with remarkable facility. He is kind and helpful to other art students, and I cannot wait to see what he does in the future with his exceptional talent.

Studio/Tradition TIE: Juliana Parker, Phillips Magnet Elementary 5th Grade

Teacher Jennifer Ellison writes this about Juliana:

Juliana is a thoughtful artist. We worked as a class using gradation to create shaded skulls. Students were then allowed to decorate their art. This was a mixed-media piece, with pencil, crayon, and paint. Juliana is thoughtful about all her work and pursues it with an artist’s eye.

Multi-Hyphen Arts Award: Patrick Murray, Willow Elementary School 5th Grade

Teacher Shannon Hattyar writes this about Patrick:

Patrick is one of my students who has an exceptionally creative mind. Not only does he demonstrate wonderful skills when it comes to visual arts techniques and compositions, but he is additionally a strong musician. In visual arts, Patrick asks clarifying questions in order to make careful decisions in his work. He applies learned techniques to incorporate eye-catching details. In music, Patrick practices both the piano and cello.

Honorable Mentions

Studio/Tradition: William Strommen, Vichy Elementary School 4th Grade

Teacher Sara Johnson writes this about William:

William loves to draw! He draws anytime he can! He always does his best and most creative work, no matter the subject. He has an amazing imagination and can tell you all about his detailed drawings. Drawing is a way for William to remember concepts in class and share his storytelling ability. Bravo William!

Studio/Tradition: Sofia Gonzalez, Phillips Magnet Elementary School 5th Grade

Teacher Jennifer Veveiros writes this about Sofia:

Sofia really took an interest in our artist of the month, Frida Kahlo. She studied her various paintings, from self-portraits to surrealism to still life. She also learned about shading and adding highlights to fruit and birds. She created a composition that shows Kahlo’s favorite pet, Bonito, posing with some fruit. I am impressed with the colors Sofia used to make this beautiful oil pastel art piece!

Studio/Tradition: Kellum Ramsey, Bel Aire Park Magnet School 4th Grade

Teacher Tere Charney writes this about Kellum:

Kellum is a student, and while arriving at the Art Studio, he shows a big personality, always trying to get attention. However, once he starts drawing or creating his art assignment, his focus is incredible. He gets lost in his process and is not fearful or tentative. Art is his passion, sharing with me how he draws at home often and has a box full of his creations. I am proud of how Kellum challenges himself to excel at art!