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

Lowell Milken Center For Unsung Heroes
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.