December 8, 2000

East County students win top art honors

Three East County students won big recently when their artwork was selected for inclusion in the 2001 "Water is Life" calendar produced by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Julie Adams, 8, of La Mesa, and Lindsey Olivares, 13, and Rebecca Webb, 11, of El Cajon, were honored along with 23 others at an artists' reception and luncheon at Metropolitan's headquarters in Los Angeles.

"It was great," said Olivares, a Parkway Middle School 7th-grader whose previous honors include being one of 12 winners in a Hallmark birthday card competition. "It was really neat going to Los Angeles on the train. I had never ridden one before."

Lindsey Olivares (left), Julie Adams (sitting) and Rebecca Webb outside of Union Station in Los Angeles during their trip to the Metropolitan Water District headquarters to receive awards for their winning entries.

Olivares' artwork also was used on the event's invitations and a welcoming banner that greeted guests from high within Metropolitan's rotunda.

Webb, a 5th-grader at Flying Hills Elementary School, is also experienced at receiving art awards. She said she won a bicycle as 1st place prize for her fire safety poster she entered in a contest sponsored by the El Cajon Fire Department.

But it seems that she also felt the trip to Los Angeles was as important as the event at Metropolitan. "I thought the train ride was a lot of fun," she said. "I had never been on one before, and neither had my mother (Patricia Webb). I liked the `comfy' seats and the food."

Webb said she remembered comments made about her poster by Metropolitan's director of public education. "He said that he liked the the way I had used a simple idea about watering your lawn at night," Webb said. "He said it made an important point."

Adams, a 2nd-grader at Murray Manor Elementary school and a veteran train rider, said she paints "mostly water colors, about once a week," because it's fun.

"I paint trees, dogs, rabbits, forests, flowers and butterflies because I like them," she said. Still, Adams said she enjoyed winning "a T-shirt, certificate, $75, an art kit, another certificate, felt pens and a bunch of stuff" for her poster titled "Grow drought-tolerant plants in your garden."

She said it was her first art award.

The event at Metropolitan in Los Angeles also was the opening of an exhibit of the 26 selected works. The collection will travel for public display at 150 water agencies in Southern California and at the state capital in Sacramento.

In January, Adams, Olivares, Webb and their families will fly to Sacramento where they will meet state legislators. Their air fare and expenses will be shared by Metropolitan and Helix Water District, which supplies fresh water to La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley.

Metropolitan's judges chose Adams' poster as 1st place in the kindergarten-to-3rd-grade division. They chose Olivares' poster as 1st place and Webb's as honorable mention in the 4th-grade-to-8th-grade division.

Adams' Olivares' and Webb's posters competed locally among more than 240 entries. Helix Water selected 10 works for further competition among top entries from Metropolitan's other member agencies.

The winning artwork by Lindsey Olivares

The seven other artists who won locally were Rainbow Abril, 6th-grader at Palm Middle School; Mace Al-Ameri, 3rd-grader at Highlands Elementary School; Natalie Astolfi, 2nd-grader at Holy Trinity School; Tyler Coine, 6th-grader at La Mesa Middle School; Emily Geraci, 3rd-grader at Flying Hills Elementary School; Joanna Smith, 6th-grader at Trinity Christian School; and Kriz Villapando, 2nd-grader at Murray Manor Elementary School.

Helix Water honored Adams,' Olivares' and Webb's teachers with certificates of appreciation for their inspiration and guidance in the creation and submission of student art.

Helix Water also provided transportation expenses for the teachers to join winning students on their trip to Los Angeles. Linda Little and Mike Abdelnour of Murray Manor Elementary School and Parkway Middle School, respectively, accepted and accompanied the young artists.

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