Shanna Clark, Mary Duron, MarDestinee Perez and Eugenia Jenness received the eighth Annual Gayle Mc-Candliss Art Awards in the City of Chula Vista during the city's 29th Annual Awards Banquet on June 14.
Cash prizes and recognition plaques were presented to the winners of the McCandliss Awards, sponsored by a memorial fund established in honor of the late Mayor Gayle McCandliss who was an avid supporter of the arts in Chula Vista. This year's awards were presented by Cultural Arts Commission members Carmen E. Quintana De Valladolid and Al Gore.
Clark, Duron, and Perez were presented with the Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding artistic achievement by talented young artists who are graduating seniors.
A student at EastLake High School, Clark was recognized for her dance and choreography talent. Clark has choreographed numerous school performances including "Scrooge" and "Godspell," and teaches at Neisha's Dance Academy and Christian Youth Theater. Her nomination said "her creativity and passion for dance have grown, along with her eye for choreography. Her work matches that of accomplished adults in the field of dance."
Duran, who attends Our Lady of Peace Academy, was honored for her accomplishments in music. She has presented concerts throughout the San Diego region, and performed with San Diego Junior Theatre and Our Lady of Peace Academy. Her nomination said, "Mary has an exceptional voice and is an outstanding actress. She has a passion for her art and has worked very hard to develop her gift."
Perez, who is a student at Chula Vista High School, received the award for music. She is the concertmistress with the Sweetwater Union High School District Orchestra, is in her school's orchestra, was selected to attend the Fine Arts Camp, and plays and sings in a local mariachi group. Her nomination said, "She began in the advanced orchestra as a second violin player and through her own individual practice, worked her way up to being the concertmistress. She has constantly been occupied with artistic activities in and out of school."
Jenness received the Bravo Award for Distinguished Service, which recognizes exemplary community service by individuals or groups who have volunteered time and resources to Chula Vista's art, artists and cultural life. She is a sixth grade teacher at Halecrest Elementary School who has taught the Ballet Folklorico to Halecrest students since 1995.
During the last six years, the Folklorico has grown in numbers from approximately 50 student dancers to nearly 90 sixth grade boys and girls. These Halecrest student dancers have traveled throughout the South Bay performing at several elementary schools, middle and high schools, multicultural fairs, festivals and other events. Jenness' nomination praised "her dedication to infusing cultural knowledge of dances and music for all to learn and enjoy. Without her vast knowledge, expertise, and tremendous dedication to excellence, the students, staff, and community would not have this richly rewarding multi-cultural experience that is filled with memories that last a lifetime."