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February 2020 VAPA SOM Winners

The Arts Council Napa Valley Education Alliance is pleased to announce February’s Visual and Performing Arts Students of the Month winners. Twelve students are being recognized in the disciplines of Visual Arts, 3D & Digital Art, Band and Choir. This month four students tied in two different categories–Theater & Visual Arts. This new annual awards initiative will seek nominees monthly culminating in an awards and scholarship ceremony on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 at the Yountville Community Center.  ACNVEA is now accepting nominations for March from College, High School, Middle School and Elementary level visual and performing arts teachers from throughout the county. Please go to the Arts Council Napa Valley Website for more information and to access the Call for Nominees Entry Form

Here are February’s winners:

High School & College Level Winners

Visual Arts: Emily Koekemoer, American Canyon High School Senior. She is currently enrolled in Art 3 and Vice President of the Arts Club. Her teacher, Samantha Hull, says her passion and commitment to the arts is felt all over campus as she participates in all installations and is also heavily involved in the set design for ACHS’s Spring production, Cinderella. After high school, Koekemoer plans to continue her arts education and study architecture.

Visual Arts: Merren Northrup, Napa High School Senior. Always creating and working, her teacher, Kristi Crickmore, says Northrup excels in all media but is especially talented with ink and watercolors. She adds that, “Her talent isn’t just in her original flowing creatures that seem to take a life off the paper, but also in her ability to constantly create.”  

3D Art/Ceramics: Maria Lepe, American Canyon High School Senior. This second year Ceramics student, is recognized by her teacher, Adam Musto,  for being a dedicated self-starter. He says, “While fearless in her exploration, she is also a playful soul who is fun to work with.” 

Digital Media: Alex Tierney, VintageHigh School Senior. His NCOE Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher, Shawn Sandahl, says this talented artist spends hours in class during the week and even more time at home honing his craft. In the advanced printing class, Tierney has completed projects for outside customers, proving he is career ready. Sandahl says he is an asset to the class and anyone he works with.

Visual Art/Photography: Ava Moreci, Napa High Junior. Photography and Yearbook teacher, Karla Palmer, is recognizing Moreci for her multiple talents as a photographer and artist. Not only can she capture the action at a basketball game, she knows all the artistic digital techniques to enhance her images. Her dedication has served her well as she tackles her AP Photography Portfolio this year. 

Theater Arts: Francisco Sipora Gutierrez, Cafeteria Kids/New Technology High Senior.  His instructors, Olivia Cowell and Aimee Guillot, recognize Sipora Guitierrez for professionalism, maturity and dedication to the performing arts. Not only has he graced the stage in numerous productions, he is now an employee of the company, leading classes for kids, implementing safety measures and interfacing with parents. His teachers say, “Francisco has met all the unique social challenges within his duties with confidence, wit and gusto.”

Theater: Julio Garcia, American Canyon High School Junior. His teacher, Summer Heartt, calls Garcia a visionary. He is a standout among his peers. In the past six months alone he has designed costumes, show posters, taken headshots, shot promotional videos, directed one-acts, choreographed, acted, sung, and danced–all with equal enthusiasm. She adds, “There is nothing he won’t do as a collaborator and cast-member.”

Choir: Vivian Kammerer, Napa High School Senior. Her teacher, Duncan Cooper, recognized her for her outstanding leadership as president of choirs with a focus on giving back to her school community. Kammerer has taken the initiative to create a new recruiting version of the choir program and to establish a student clothing donation center. All this, while maintaining musical excellence in class and supporting a very young soprano section. Cooper says, “She has given her peers the gift of empathy and understanding while modeling a calm and collected leadership style.”

Middle & Elementary Level Winners

Visual Arts: Isabella Christman, River School 8th Grader. Her teacher Valerie Dearborn says she is a truly gifted artist, capable of accurately portraying people and places, “Yet also able to apply her talents to non-objective art with a creative bent.” Dearborn adds that Christman consistently produces work of the highest quality.

Visual Arts: Abigail Lavarias, Willow 1st grader. Her teacher, Ivory Martin, recognized her ability to fully engage in her work and taking the time to focus on new art techniques. Martin says Lavarias, “Has learned that there are no mistakes in art,” adding that she takes every opportunity to turn something she initially didn’t like into something beautiful. 

Band: Jandro Canones, Willow School 4th grader.  Principal, Pam Perkins, recognized Canones for his determination to master the keyboard. He practices at school, but is primarily self-taught.  His enthusiasm shows in his focus and obvious joy when performing.

Choir: Fatima Sanchez, Harvest Middle School 8th Grader. Her teacher, Nick Burdick, says she is an enthusiastic and helpful singer. She’s recognized for always bringing a positive attitude to class, working hard and helping to tidy up the classroom without being asked. Burdick says Sanchez is also a skilled sight reader with a great voice.

ACNVEA is currently reaching out to teachers throughout the county seeking nominees for the month of March. All winners will be recognized with a certificate and invited to an awards and scholarship ceremony on Tuesday, April 28th at the Yountville Community Center. If you know someone, a teacher or a student who deserves recognition, please direct them to the ACNV or ACNVEA websites for full details, including the Call for Nominees document Nominations are due by the 20th of every month.