TUBA CITY, Ariz. - Elaina Begay, a second grade student at Tsinaabaas Habitiin Elementary School (THES) in Gap-Coppermine, won first place in an Arizona Department of Education poster art contest. Five other students at the school won honorable mentions.
Students from any of Arizona's public schools could enter the contest. This year's theme was "Change in Education."
Neven Nez, second grade, Olivia Yazzie, fourth grade, Wahayla Gonnie, Kenantionette Nez and Caleb Nez, third grade were all student winners. Begay was one of the youngest entrants in the state-wide contest.
Tsinaabaas Habitiin Principal Sanora Isaac was thrilled with the outcome of the contest and gave much credit to her summer school staffers, particularly Pedro Conzaga who was the summer school reading teacher. Conzaga helped the THES students who wanted to enter the art contest and made time during their busy summer school academic schedule to work on their entries.
Each student worked on their submission alone but Conzaga would constantly encourage and check on their individual progress, helping them with forms and shapes and reminding them of what the theme was about.
Begay told Conzaga that "my fingers are sore from using the colored pencils but I want to make sure I am getting all the colors as bright as I want them to really show."
Conzaga kept encouraging Begay, telling her "Elaina, someday you will be a really great artist and your hard work will all pay off."
"I just want to thank these special teachers for encouraging our students to think big, be creative," Isaac said. "Mrs. Vilma Morala, math teacher, Mrs. Clarence Pesodas, technology, Mrs. Natalie Tsinnjinnie, science/social studies and Mr. Pedro Conzaga, reading teacher. This summer contest was a really exciting project for (the students) to work on in their spare summer school time and to have a final winner of first place, we were just thrilled! We are so happy and really want to encourage every single student here to do their best and we want them all to be super successful in anything they want to put their skills and hard work into."