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Mother Lode Student Wins Yosemite Contest

Yosemite, CA – Stiff competition as a Soulsbyville Elementary School student took home top honors for poetry in a record breaking year.

Yosemite National Park officials report more the 250 students submitted entries in the 2016 Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest – the highest number ever.  The contest is open to all students, grades K-12, who attend school or youth programs within the gateway community school districts of the park.

Soulsbyville student Micara Alkema won Poet Laureate. She and other winners will be honored at a special ceremony on Saturday November 5th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Their work will also be exhibited at The Ansel Adams Gallery beginning Thursday, November 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Yosemite’s acting Superintendent Woody Smeck acknowledges, “We are proud to support and highlight the artistic creativity of youth, and foster opportunities for inspiration that children living in our gateway communities take home from their Yosemite experiences.”

This year there was a special category specifically celebrating the 100th Anniversary of The National Park Service created in 1916. Below is the list of all the categories and contest winners:

Kindergarten & 1st grade art: Lani Sweeney, Titus Delgado – Yosemite Valley Elementary School, Ellis Jackson, Nellie Woods – Wawona Elementary Charter School, Tyler Ruffner, Elvis Rodriquez – El Portal Elementary School, Donovan Mueller – Coarsegold Elementary School.

2nd & 3rd grade art: Erika Ramos, Juniper Helling – El Portal Elementary School, Keegan Smerber – Sierra Foothill Charter School, Gracie Raines, Thomas Raines – Yosemite Valley Elementary School.

4th & 5th grade art: Lusa Andrews, Erica Wolhgemuth – Wawona Elementary Charter School, Ronin Yoshida, Eva Smerber, Khalil Neogy, Malaya Shelton – Sierra Foothill Charter School, Annie Bryant – Mariposa Elementary School, Scarlett Kerr – El Portal Elementary School, Haven O’Connor – Mountain Home School.

6th-8th grade art: Johann Hill-Zeck, Emilee Cordero, Celianna Lee – Sierra Foothill Charter School, Jessie Bonich, Samantha Jones, Katie Wilson – Mammoth Middle School.

9th-12th grade art: Leo Zanoni, Isabel Harper – Mariposa County High School, Emily Bourdon, Josie Ramiez, Sydney Meyer, Josue Ramirez – Minarets High School, Kelly Ryan – Glacier High School Charter, Barrett Calvin, Yeri Camargo – Mammoth Lakes High School.

3rd-4th group art: Spring Valley Elementary School – Mrs. Heather McGrew’s Class

K-1st Poetry:  Ozlynn O’Connor – Mountain Home School

4th & 5th grade poetry: Finley Pierce, Seth Allen, Julia Leyva, Jaci Morgan, Annea Villanueva, Kobe King – Oakhurst Elementary School.

6th-8th grade poetry: Sydney Jacobs, Autumn Stock, Ruby Yager, Luin Amstutz, Ava Dunlavey, Natalia Martinez – El Portal Elementary School.

9th-12th grade poetry: Katie Thompson, Hannah Scott – Yosemite Valley High School, Malia Hogan, Ramiro Paredes – Mariposa County High School.

4th-5th group poetry:  Mariposa Elementary School – Ms. Vittore’s Class

4th-5th grade photography:  Brody Barr, Anderson Stansberry – Wawona Elementary Charter School.

6th-8th grade photography: Jocelyn Stansberry, Jaiden Stansberry – Wawona Elementary Charter School.

9th-12th grade photography: Peter McLean – Yosemite High School,

Anniversary Award: Lasen Andrews -Wawona Elementary Charter School, Owen Bissmeyer – Mariposa County High School.

Ansel Adams Award: Emilee Cordero – Sierra Foothill Charter School

Yosemite Winter Award: Karessa Ruaisab-Smith – Yosemite Valley Elementary School

Yosemite Award: Leo Zanoni – Mariposa County High School

Yosemite Conservancy Award: Beka Fickling – Walter Mitty Classical Independent School (Ahwahnee)

Poet Laureate:  Micara Alkema – Soulsbyville Elementary School