Rotary Presents Awards for Peace Perspectives

by Shirley Lorraine

Showcasing extraordinary works of art by high school seniors, the Downtown Rotary Club of Ventura awarded the 6th annual Perspectives on Peace Scholarship Awards on May 22.

A full house of Rotarians, awardees and family members, and guests attended the Poinsettia Pavilion to laud the stunning accomplishments of six Artists of Distinction. Sifting through 35 exemplary entries, judges admitted it was a challenge to single out just six outstanding works.

Now in its 6th year, the awards are given in memory of Rotarian Sarah Johnson Ingram, and are the only merit-based scholarships available for VUSD students. The works come in all forms of artistic expression, allowing students to present their feelings on what peace means to them in ways that are meaningful to them personally and will resonate with others.

Rotary International has always been a world peace focused organization. As moderator Ken Leandro stated, “Rotary creates environments where peace can happen. “Through this art-based initiative, students can use creative expressions to bring their messages to life.

Wylde Brandt, a senior at Ventura High School, was awarded for his digital art creation titled “The Abyss” featuring people bridging the gap to come together in peace. Wylde plans to pursue a career in film and animation.

A painting titled “Eyes of Peace” garnered an award for Jami Chambers of El Camino High. Her work was a visual compendium of perspectives from several views. Jami plans to go on to Fullerton College.

An illustrated, animated short video submitted by Sierra Engel from Buena High School earned her the title of Artist of Distinction. Her work was a means to convey “the feeling of serenity that can be found in nature.” Sierra will be attending UC Davis in the Fall.

Moia Kingsley’s mixed media piece titled “Peaceful Words, Peaceful Heart,” using photography layered with written words showed her views on achieving inner peace, acceptance and forgiveness for a better, more peaceful world. After graduating from Foothill Technology High School, Moia plans to attend college in Illinois.

Also from Buena High School, Kendall Nagaoka was awarded for her palette painting self-portrait. It featured myriad colors indicating the many moods one can experience in the ongoing journey to find peace. She, too, will be heading to UC Davis in the Fall.

All five of these students were given a $1000 scholarship to aid in their educational pursuits. The Grand Prize of a $5000 scholarship was presented to Emily Sehati of Ventura High School. Titled “The Promise,” her art piece was a combination of digital art and poetry. She plans to attend Stanford majoring in International Relations.

Ventura Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Antonio Castro congratulated all the Artists of Distinction, stating “the common themes we see through this artistic expression are those we need to focus on – peace, acceptance and more. Through this art you change us, and you change the world.”

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