Phoenix High School students place top 4 in Congressional Art Competition

PHOENIX, Ore. – Several Phoenix High School students are being recognized in the art world. The four of them took 1st through 4th place, in Representative Cliff Bentz’s 2023 Congressional Art Competition.

 “It felt like I achieved something I thought I never could of done in a million years,” said PHS Junior, Shayna Giron.

They placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in Representative Bentz’s Congressional Art Competition this year.

I remember when I was first putting it in, when  I was painting it in general, I never thought it would be that good or many people would like it.” said PHS Sophomore and competition winner California Lees.I just thought it would be something I’d enjoy.”

The program showcases students’ artistic abilities and highlights the importance of art education.

Since its start in 1982, more than 700,000 high school students from around the country have participated.

“Definitely thought there was going to be a lot of competition. I was like, I don’t think I’ll win, but I’m really proud of myself for submitting it,” said Giron

Congressman Bentz, who has one of the largest districts in the country, announced the winners Monday, including sophomore California Lees, who beat out 43 other submissions for the number one spot, with her painting titled, ‘Cumulus Clouds.’

“When I was  making it I was just, I liked the clouds. They stood out to me. Honestly, right when I found out, I was really in denial. I couldn’t even get over the fact that I had won, let alone placed in general. But now I’m really proud and really excited,” said Lees.

The other regional winners are, The Seeds of Growth by Phoenix High School junior, Shayna Giron, Lily Cat by Phoenix High School sophomore, Rowen Wiley, and Slow Your Roll by Phoenix High School junior Brisa Bauer.

“I always love to do like animals. I love to paint animals, so I wanted to kind of challenge myself,” said Bauer.

All representing PHS on the national stage.

“It’s been a lot for the past few years, with the fire and covid and everything. So, just to know that we’re getting back to do things that we did before, it’s really cool,” said Bauer.

Lees will travel to Washington, D.C.  to see her artwork displayed in the National Student Art Exhibit, in the U.S. Capitol and attend a reception in her honor. The other winners will have their art displayed in one of Congressman Bentz’s offices in Medford, Ontario, or Washington, D.C.

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Shellye Leggett is an anchor and producer for NBC5 News. You can also catch her anchoring on KMVU FOX26. She comes to the Rogue Valley from Albuquerque, New Mexico where she was a nightside reporter and fill-in weekend anchor for KOAT Action 7 News for 3 years. She has also reported in Colorado Springs, Colorado, South Bend, Indiana and Bozeman, Montana. Shellye was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She graduated from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois with a B.A. in Communication Studies. She then earned a Master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her husband who's in the Navy, her cat “Tootsie,” watch scary movies with friends and spend time with her extended family who live all over the West Coast. Shellye is excited to explore Southern Oregon and North California and tell your stories.
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