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LaVilla School For The Arts 8th Grader Wins International Art Award

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Lowell Milken Center For Unsung Heroes
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Photo of "A Terezin Diary" by Naomi Alcantara

An eighth grader at LaVilla School for the Arts has won Middle School Best-In-Show in an international art competition.

LaVilla’s Naomi Alcantara is one of 11 winners of the sixth annual ArtEffect Project, a competition that challenges middle- and high-school students to honor "unsung heroes" through art. 

Alcantara’s mixed media creation, A Terezin Diary, represents Pavel Weiner, a Holocaust survivor who spent his childhood in the Terezin ghetto. He wrote articles for a magazine secretly distributed throughout the ghetto that reflected his hope, patriotism, maturity and belief in the victory of truth.

"I decided to create this artwork as a recreation of his diary to give a more personal feel to it and share some of the relatable and historical information he had disclosed in his diary. A diary usually gives the viewer more personal and specific ideas on how the writer felt writing it, so I thought restoring and remaking a version of it would be effective," Alcantara said in an email sent to WJCT News.  

Alcantara’s Best-In-Show award comes with a $2,000 prize. To see her reaction when she found she had won the award, watch this video clip:

The ArtEffect Project was put together by the Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes. LMC was established in 2007 through a partnership between education philanthropist Lowell Milken and Milken Educator Award-winning history teacher Norman Conard.

The organizers say LMC’s mission is transforming classrooms and communities through student-driven projects that discover Unsung Heroes from history and teach the power of one to create positive change.

LMC has reached over a million students and more than 10,000 schools across America and globally, according to the group.