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Turlock students win Congressional Art Contest
Turlock High School senior Ezekiel Saldana won first place in the District 10 Congressional Art Contest with his photograph titled Cousins. - photo by Photo Contributed

For the second consecutive year, Turlock students swept the California District 10 Congressional Art Competition, taking first, second and third places.

Turlock High School senior Ezekiel Saldana won first place with his photograph titled “Cousins.” He found his inspiration for the photo while visiting the neighborhood where his younger cousins grew up. Saldana said that he plans on traveling around the world after high school.

Pitman High School senior Makayla Archer took second place for her drawing titled “Frog.” The frog, which is named Felipe, is wrapped in in bandages as a sign of healing, according to Archer. When she graduates, Archer plans to attend San Jose State’s animation and illustration program.

Third place this year went to “The Future in Spheres,” a photo submitted by Pitman High School student Jordan Prather.

Saldana’s artwork will be brought back to Washington and displayed as part of the national exhibition in the United States Capitol, where thousands of visitors pass through each year. The second and third place winners’ art will be displayed in Rep. Denham’s Modesto office.

In addition to having his artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol exhibit, Saldana and one guest are invited to the annual awards ceremony hosted on Capitol Hill on June 27. A scholarship is also offered to the winner to fly to Washington, D.C. for the reception and announcement of the national winner.

Turlock has a winning history in the District 10 Art Contest. In 2017, Skye Ocaranza, a senior at PHS, came in first place with his drawing titled “Ramephant,” which was illustrated using pen and ink. The drawing features a ram-elephant hybrid, complete with a set of ram horns on its head, two sets of terrifyingly sharp tusks and two pairs of eyes. Fellow Pitman students Nairobi Mello, a junior who won the competition in 2016, took second place and senior Michelle Serena Doo took third. In 2016, Mello took first and Turlock Christian's Gyuha Hwang won third place.

Thirty-one students from nine cities in District 10 submitted their works of art for this year’s contest. All of the submissions can be view on Denham’s Facebook page at: www.facebook/RepJeffDenham/