Congressman Awards Photography Prize

Grant Chudler, Staff Writer

Congressman George Miller visited Campolindo’s Photography class on May 12 during 5th period to honor several students who won awards in the annual Congressional Art Competition. Senior Saarah Shah won first prize in the entire competition for her photo, titled Flawless. 

Seniors Killian Goltra, Katherine Friedman, Courtney Daum, Natalie Seidemann, Mallory Faldt, Hanna Schoenberger, juniors Elise Nagy,  Danielle Thomas,  Courtney Nelson, and sophomore Kalyn Ingersoll were also honored.

Miller represents District 11 of California, which includes Contra Costa County. The competition for District 11 received 122 entries, out of which Shah’s piece won first place.

“I’m really excited, and super shocked,” said Shah.

“It took a lot of effort to get the lights to be beautiful and to set them up and have the light work on that portrait. It was technically challenging and I think she did a great job,” said Photo teacher Collette Sweeney said.

Shah’s entry was a picture of her classmate, Natalie Seidemann. She said she wanted her photo to have “something different with that flawless kind of beautiful feel to it.”

Miller expressed enthusiasm in promoting arts in education: “For me, its very exciting to see the number of students that entered their work from Campolindo, and to see the different styles in the art and photography that they chose to enter.”

Shah will be flown to Washington DC, where she will attend a reception in honor of the winners of all the districts and states. Winners will also be hosted by the congressmen at their offices.

Sweeney was glad Miller chose to visit the school and meet with the students. She said, “Mr. Miller likes to come to the schools. Its a great opportunity for them to reach out to their voters and to the community and that’s a nice thing. It’s not every day that you get a politician that represents the voters coming out to your school to give an honor.”

The winning artwork will be displayed in Washington D.C. “The artwork will be shown in one of the big pedestrian tunnels between the capitol and the office buildings where tens of thousands of people go through every year,” Miller said.

Miller explained the judging process for the competition. “We put together a jury in the congressional district, and we get all of submissions, and they go through all of them,” he said. The jury compares thoughts on all of the entries, and a final winner is chosen.

Goltra, who won the second honorable mention in digital artwork, said, “I wish I got first place but I’m honored to get mentioned.”

Sweeney said, “Its a nice way of honoring students who work hard and those schools and communities that make a contributions to the arts.”