Photography contest winners

Brandon Keeton (ACE Coordinator), with student photography winners Ruby Mariscal, Nataly Romero, and Hanna Aguilar, with Brigitte Villalpando an Americorps Volunteer Infrastructure Project Fellow.

The UpValley Partnership for Youth (UVPY) recently sponsored a photography contest for students at Calistoga Junior-Senior High School in partnership with the ACE (After Class Enrichment) Program. The theme of the contest was “Self Expression,” encouraging students to use photography as a way of expressing what makes them happy.

Three winners were awarded for their entries, in which they demonstrated positive and creative ways to express themselves through their photos and their written artist statements.

First place was awarded to Ruby Mariscal, an eighth-grader who also participates in the UpValley Family Center’s “Be the Change” club on campus, which aims to promote positive messaging at school. Her artist statement describes her photograph in thoughtful detail.

“The photograph represents beauty in the eye of the beholder. The model is looking forward, expressing their current feeling of joy with the smile etched on their features. By looking forward, she is embracing the warm light of the sun and feeling her freedom with the cool wind surrounding her,” she wrote.

Second place was awarded to Nataly Romero, an eighth-grader who submitted a beautiful photograph of a blossoming tree with the statement “I’m like a tree, I never stop growing.”

Third place was awarded to Hanna Aguilar, a seventh-grader who entered multiple submissions into the contest, for her photograph featuring a vineyard at sunset stating: “Paint a picture of the sunset that no one will forget.”

UpValley Partnership for Youth is a broad coalition of community stakeholders who work together to address underage drinking and substance use in our community. The coalition is coordinated by the UpValley Family Centers and supported by the Napa County Office of Education. UVPY organizes several annual events at local schools to creatively engage youth in promoting positive change in their communities.

The ACE program exists to address the educational, social and safety needs of students through a community collaborative that provides academic support and enrichment activities bridging the school day with the after-school hours. The Napa County Office of Education runs the ACE Program at Harvest/River, Redwood and Silverado Middle Schools, as well as Calistoga Junior-Senior High School.

UVPY and ACE plan to create more opportunities for students to express themselves artistically through school-based clubs or events, including the possibility of having a gallery display of student artwork at a public venue in Calistoga.

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