Students win big at local high school art competition

First+place+winner+Esther+Choi+accepting+her+award+from+Congresswoman+Linda+Sanchez.
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Students win big at local high school art competition

First place winner Esther Choi accepting her award from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

First place winner Esther Choi accepting her award from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

Krystyn Bristol

First place winner Esther Choi accepting her award from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

Krystyn Bristol

Krystyn Bristol

First place winner Esther Choi accepting her award from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

Krystyn Bristol

By Krystyn Bristol

The 11th annual 38th Congressional District High School Art Competition was recently in full swing as students from local high schools submitted their best work in hopes to win first place and a spot on the U.S Capitols’ wall.
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38) hosted the event. Sánchez is well known for having broken many barriers in Congress, including becoming the first Latina to serve on the House Judiciary Committee. As an active member and representative of California’s 39th district since 2003, she has recently taken the opportunity to proudly represent the 38th district of Southern California and the local communities within the area.
As Sánchez moved districts, she took the art competition full of fantastic opportunities for kids with her. As the host of this event, she takes great pride in the students’ abilities to express their feelings through the production of art.
Though the Congresswoman’s districts have been taking part in this community competition for over a decade, many other districts do not. This is yet another reason why Sánchez feels that is excessively relevant and important to give this great opportunity to the students and their families.
“It’s an excellent experience for young artists to display their work, see that there is value in their work, and open many doors for students,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “This gives young people the opportunity to let others see their work (who usually wouldn’t) and it adds more humanity to our community,” she added.
The opportunistic high school students whom had to follow a series of guidelines to produce a project relating to this year’s theme, “A Magical Moment”, submitted a total of over 150 pieces.
Roberto Chavez, Rio Hondo alumni and international photographer, chaired the event for the third consecutive year. Chavez said, “It gives me a lot of joy seeing the new high school winners year after year. It is very satisfying to see their bright and artistic futures. Working with Linda makes me proud to have a Congresswoman representative who is an advocate for the arts. It’s something you don’t quite often see.”
Congresswoman Sánchez, who made the final decision for the first place winner was looking for something “evocative” that “visually illustrated the theme” and executed an overall emotional piece with well-craftsmanship.
There were also two judges who participated in narrowing down the options for Sánchez, Martha Wade and Nancy Gunther.
Wade, known for her acting days co-starring on the Waltons, Days of our Lives, and a variety of others shows, was very pleased to judge this competition for the first time.
Wade is also the founder of Orange County’s non-profit organization called “A Quarter Blue”. The name derived from the saying that a quarter of children who are sexually assaulted will be left blue for the rest of their lives. Wade firmly believes that education can help prevent emotional scarring and that through art and expression, they can fully heal from the traumatic experiences.
“By looking at their art, you can tell what these children are going through,” said Wade.
This opportunity to judge these pieces meant more to Wade than others could imagine because of her love of connecting children’s feelings to art and sharing it with others.
Gunther, the other highly artistically active first-time judge is known for her savor of details in the world. When judging the pieces, she said that she was looking for the fine pieces that “followed all of the qualifications,” along with a display of beauty, color, shapes, textures, and a one-of-a-kind impressions. As a graduate from Brooks College of a Design and an artist who has displayed her work in many galleries, Gunther was determined to find the best executed piece with techniques that fully represented their magical moment in life.
After deliberation, there were several awards and recognitions given out for pieces entered in the competition, as well as a final set of first, second, and third place winners. The third and second place winners won gift cards to purchase art supplies and a certificate for their achievements. The student who impressed the two judges and Congresswoman the most won a $500 gift card for supplies, a framed certificate from the Congress of the United States’ House of Representatives, a trip to Washington D.C., and the grand opportunity to have their art work displayed in the U.S. Capitol building for a full year.
When asked where the winning piece will exactly be located, Sánchez responded, “It will be located in the tunnels that run from the house office buildings to the capitol. It will be prominently displayed and hundreds of thousands of people will walk by the winning piece, including me. Each time we have to vote or make a decision, legislators and many others will pass by the winner’s work.”
The grand prizewinner of the competition was Esther Choi of La Mirada high school, who took advantage of the very broad and versatile theme of a “magical moment” and added a three-dimensional twist to her piece titled, “Flower Evolution”.
Along with all of the other winners, Esther was full of gratitude for the opportunity that she had been given by the judges, organizations, sponsors, and the Congresswoman herself.
This competition is always a great chance for students and aspiring artists of high schools in the district to express themselves, be recognized by hundreds of people, and enjoy the opportunities that Congresswoman Linda Sánchez and the community have to offer.

Chairman Roberto Chavez sharing a laugh with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez during the award ceremony.

Chairman Roberto Chavez sharing a laugh with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez during the award ceremony.

Judge Martha Wade explaining the vision that one of the children from "A Quarter Blue" had when painting and expressing themselves on a blank door.

Judge Martha Wade explaining the vision that one of the children from “A Quarter Blue” had when painting and expressing themselves on a blank door.

One of the judges, Nancy Gunther, smiling during an interview with El Paisano reporter.

One of the judges, Nancy Gunther, smiling during an interview with El Paisano reporter.

First place winner Esther Choi accepting her award from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

First place winner Esther Choi accepting her award from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

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