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Local Boys & Girls Club members honored for Hispanic heritage artwork

Associates with UScellular presented gift cards in varying amounts to three Rogue Valley students for the artwork they submitted as part of a contest honoring Hispanic Heritage Month.

The winners were members of the Rogue Valley Boys & Girls Clubs in Talent and Grants Pass. Nevaeh Silver from Grants Pass received $250 for first place; Riley Chisum from Talent received $150 for second place, and Teen Team (Hannah McGovern, 12; Max Fitzgerald, 12; and Elijah Law, 16) from Grants Pass received $100 for third place.

The students’ prizes were presented in events among their peers in two locations: the cafeteria at Talent Elementary School and the gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club facility in Grants Pass.

Silver said she chose to do an oil painting of a Mexican dance scene, which took her about two weeks to complete.

“I like Mexican dancers, and I like dancing, so I thought if I do people dancing together, it will bring out happiness,” said Silver, a fifth grade Riverside Elementary School student. “I want people to know it’s OK if you have your own talent and your own heritage and culture.”

Greg Roe, executive director at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley, applauded not just Silver but all of his members, who are 33% non-white, for participating.

“I think it was very important for our kids to recognize the culture of others outside of their own -- she is nodding her head,” said Roe, who joined in the interview with Silver. “I was so impressed with the artwork; it was just second to none.”

He noted Boys & Girls often implements Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM).

“Every culture has contributed to art, to engineering, to math, to science -- and it’s great for our kids to recognize that there’s great people around the world who have contributed to each one of those areas,” Silver said.

In the UScellular competition, the winners topped 10 finalists, for creating artwork of influential Hispanic and Latino figures from around the world.

Representatives from the Boys & Girls Club examined the artworks and judged them based on “creativity, quality, interpretation, clarity of theme and overall impression,” according to a UScellular news release.

The company then created a website that people could visit, see the artwork and vote for their favorite beginning late last month.

Voting ended on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 15.

Votes from the community were counted, and the first-, second- and third-place winners were determined.

“It was amazing to see the creativity and wide range of inspirations the Club members used to create their art,” Anthony Carlson, area vice president at UScellular, said in a prepared statement. “We extend our congratulations to the winners and all the finalists in this inaugural contest.