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Poets, artists honored at Yosemite National Park

Nov. 5, 2016

From the National Park Service

Today at the Yosemite National Park and The Ansel Adams Gallery will honor the winners of the 2016 Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest, which closed in September 2016. The contest is a way for the park to celebrate the creativity of youth living in the Yosemite gateway communities. The contest is open to all students, grades K-12, who attend school or youth programs within the gateway community school districts of Yosemite National Park.

This year the contest featured artwork from a record number of gateway communities including Bass Lake Joint Union, Big Oak Flat Groveland Unified, Chawanakee Unified, Eastern Sierra Unified, Mammoth Unified, Mariposa County Unified, Raymond-Knowles Union, the districts of Tuolumne County, Yosemite Unified and Sonora Area Schools.

Yosemite National Park received over 250 submissions from students, setting a new record. The winning students will be acknowledged at a special awards ceremony on today at The Ansel Adams Gallery, from noon to 1 p.m.  In the event of rainy weather the reception will be held at the Yosemite National Park Valley Auditorium, located behind the Valley Visitor Center.

“We are proud to support and highlight the artistic creativity of youth, and foster opportunities for inspiration that children living in our gateway communities take home from their Yosemite experiences,” stated Yosemite Acting Superintendent Woody Smeck. “We are especially proud to work with our partners, including The Ansel Adams Gallery and Yosemite Conservancy, to honor and acknowledge the hard work of all participants.”

All Poetry and art submissions were divided into categories and winning pieces were selected by a team comprised of both park staff and park partners. Winning student artwork and poetry submissions will be featured in a special exhibit at The Ansel Adams Gallery from Thursday, November 3 through Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

Students submitted a wide range of art and poetry including collages, paintings, and photography showing Giant Sequoias, Tunnel View, Glacier Point, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and many others. Students submitted poetry focused on experiencing the park through the perspective of an animal or plant, and their personal experiences within the park. A select few students submitted art and poetry to a category specifically celebrating the 100th Anniversary of The National Park Service inspired by the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.

Contest winners include:

Kindergarten & 1st grade art: Lani Sweeney, Titus Delgado – Yosemite Valley Elementary School, Ellis Jackson, Nellie Woods – Wawona Elementary Charter School, Tyler Ruffner, Elvis Rodriquez – El Portal Elementary School, Donovan Mueller – Coarsegold Elementary School.

2nd & 3rd grade art: Erika Ramos, Juniper Helling – El Portal Elementary School, Keegan Smerber – Sierra Foothill Charter School, Gracie Raines, Thomas Raines – Yosemite Valley Elementary School.

4th & 5th grade art: Lusa Andrews, Erica Wolhgemuth – Wawona Elementary Charter School, Ronin Yoshida, Eva Smerber, Khalil Neogy, Malaya Shelton – Sierra Foothill Charter School, Annie Bryant – Mariposa Elementary School, Scarlett Kerr – El Portal Elementary School, Haven O’Connor – Mountain Home School.

6th-8th grade art: Johann Hill-Zeck, Emilee Cordero, Celianna Lee – Sierra Foothill Charter School, Jessie Bonich, Samantha Jones, Katie Wilson – Mammoth Middle School.

9th-12th grade art: Leo Zanoni, Isabel Harper – Mariposa County High School, Emily Bourdon, Josie Ramiez, Sydney Meyer, Josue Ramirez – Minarets High School, Kelly Ryan – Glacier High School Charter, Barrett Calvin, Yeri Camargo – Mammoth Lakes High School.

3rd-4th group art: Spring Valley Elementary School – Mrs. Heather McGrew’s Class

K-1st Poetry:  Ozlynn O’Connor – Mountain Home School

4th & 5th grade poetry: Finley Pierce, Seth Allen, Julia Leyva, Jaci Morgan, Annea Villanueva, Kobe King – Oakhurst Elementary School.

6th-8th grade poetry: Sydney Jacobs, Autumn Stock, Ruby Yager, Luin Amstutz, Ava Dunlavey, Natalia Martinez – El Portal Elementary School.

9th-12th grade poetry: Katie Thompson, Hannah Scott – Yosemite Valley High School, Malia Hogan, Ramiro Paredes – Mariposa County High School.

4th-5th group poetry:  Mariposa Elementary School – Ms. Vittore’s Class

4th-5th grade photography:  Brody Barr, Anderson Stansberry – Wawona Elementary Charter School.

6th-8th grade photography: Jocelyn Stansberry, Jaiden Stansberry – Wawona Elementary Charter School.

9th-12th grade photography: Peter McLean – Yosemite High School,

Anniversary Award: Lasen Andrews -Wawona Elementary Charter School, Owen Bissmeyer – Mariposa County High School.

Ansel Adams Award: Emilee Cordero – Sierra Foothill Charter School

Yosemite Winter Award: Karessa Ruaisab-Smith – Yosemite Valley Elementary School

Yosemite Award: Leo Zanoni – Mariposa County High School

Yosemite Conservancy Award: Beka Fickling – Walter Mitty Classical Independent School (Ahwahnee)

Poet Laureate:  Micara Alkema – Soulsbyville Elementary School

Funding was received from the Yosemite Conservancy to help with the Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest.

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