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Pearls of Youth winners announced

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  • Article Image Alt Text
    Neidig Elementary School art teacher Jennifer Grames (center) with two of her budding students:  Ada Sakaria, who placed third for K-2nd grade, and Genesis Giron, who placed second for 3rd-5th grade. Photos courtesy of Elgin Arts Association
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Ryan Smith placed first in the High School division.
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    First place winners Ella Rippy for the Middle School division and Heidi Gollihar for the 3rd-5th grade division are framed between EAA members Deborah DeGezelle (left) and Lucretia Alvarez (right).

Elgin Arts Association (EAA) has been utilizing virtual and social media avenues since the closing of public events this year for the health and safety of the community, artists, and patrons.

Spring break art camp and the spring youth art show were suddenly halted, but special thanks go to Ashley Smith for making the spring break art kits available, and to Deborah DeGezelle of EAA for making a Virtual Art Show to view online through the EAA website. Her hours of dedicated time to stretch our technology outreach insured the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t totally cancel our annual youth show in April 2020. Lucretia Alvarez assured all the area art teachers that the student art works would still be viewed, judged, and enjoyed by the public, just in a different form this year. Judges were Meena Matocha (Pflugerville), David Marks (Lexington), and Jesse Benavides (Austin).

EAA believes in kids' art as an important avenue for expressive growth, creativity and self-esteem. There were amazing entries, so kudos to all who entered the 2020 Pearls of Youth Visual Art Show, and congratulations to the following winners.

High School

  • First Place: Ryan Smith, The Change That Devours, 9th grade, McDade Secondary
  • Second Place: Jackie Ramirez, Untitled (B/W cat), 10th grade, McDade Secondary;
  • Third Place: Faith Poe, Eagle, 9th grade, Elgin High School

Middle School

  • First Place: Ella Rippy, Untitled (orange lily), 7th grade, McDade Secondary
  • Second Place: Montse Fuentes, Untitled (B/W rose), 8th grade, McDade Secondary
  • Third Place: Peyton Turner, Untitled (succulent flower), 7th grade, McDade Secondary

3rd-5th Grade

  • First Place: Heidi Gollihar, Storm of Colors, 4th grade, Elgin Elementary
  • Second Place: Genesis Giron, Zany Zentangles, 3rd grade, Neidig Elementary
  • Third Place: Angie Valero Palafox, Question?, 4th grade, Elgin Elementary

Kindergarten-2nd Grade

  • First Place: Lily Cook, Chinese Dragon, 2nd grade, Neidig Elementary
  • Second Place: Jason Joseph Avila-Rodriguez, Brothers, 1st grade, Booker T. Washington Elementary
  • Third Place: Ada Sakaria, Mr. Hermit, Kindergarten, Neidig Elementary

Thanks to the participating teachers for their extra efforts to get the student art submitted. You are truly appreciated this year more than ever with the distance learning challenges. Elgin ISD teachers were Allison Keedy, Booker T. Washington Elementary; Rebecca Core, Elgin Elementary; Jennifer Grames, Neidig Elementary; Mandi Martinez and Lindsey Creel, Elgin High. Brock Logan of McDade Primary, and  Rebecca Plumley of McDade Secondary were the Pearls of Education honorees this year for advance preparation, artistic dedication and outstanding student works.

There were no scholarship applicants received this year for the Pearls Scholarship awarded to seniors, but we hope 2021 will bring back an opportunity to reward several fine arts students with college funds. We also want to thank Dan Kleiner for all his leadership and support, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary for their scholarship donation, and the Elgin Lions Club for sponsoring the Virtual Art Show.

Please visit our website for more information, and view the Pearls of Youth 2020 Virtual Art Show at where each participating school has its own gallery page. Enjoy the show through December 2020!