Socorro Independent School District (SISD) officials announced Thursday that four students placed in top spots in the first-ever Racial Harmony Art Contest conducted by local nonprofit organizations Green Hope Project and Black El Paso Voice.
Students across the region were invited to interpret the theme of racial harmony and express their thoughts through visual arts. They were encouraged to embrace their favorite media to create with and have their voices heard through art advocacy.
“With everything going on the world these days, I think we have to be the balance for the negatives,” said Candace Printz, SISD Fine Arts assistant director. “If we don’t have that balance, then we would all be lost. These contests are especially important to help educate our students.”
The winners were recognized by Texas House representative Mary Gonzalez and racial justice advocate Sandra Reid during the virtual awards presentation Jan. 30.
Pebble Hills High School junior and first place winner in the high school category Jenna Thai said she joined the contest because she was inspired.
“I felt like I had to join this contest,” Thai said. “I felt a deep connection with it, and I thought it was a good message to spread to the community.”
The contest received a total of 122 submissions and was open to all ages/students in the El Paso, Las Cruces and Juarez regions.
Pebble Hills High School art teacher Andrea Chaparro said she tries to encourage her students to join as many art contests as possible.
“These opportunities are great for our students at SISD,” Chaparro said. “As an artist myself, I know how hard it can be to showcase your art, but our students don’t seem to stop or slow down in any way and that makes me so proud as an educator.”
SISD Racial Harmony Art Contest winners:
Jessica Castillo, 1st place, Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle School
Jenna Nguyen Thai, 1st place, Pebble Hills High School
Myah Gonzalez, 3rd place, Americas High School
Azul Aragonez, 3rd place, Hurshel Antwine Middle School