Leilehua High students make their mark in national Scholastic Art Awards program


Nine HIDOE students who earned top recognition in the Hawaii Regional Scholastic Art Awards have gone on to earn medals in the national competition — and they're all from Leilehua High School. The Scholastic Art Awards is the longest-running, largest and most prestigious student recognition program in the United States.


National Medalists, 2016 Scholastic Art Awards

Congratulations to these extraordinary student artists who earned medals in the national Scholastic Art Awards program. To be considered for the national-level recognition, student works had to earn Gold Keys in the Hawaii Regional Scholastic Art Awards.​ Those works are on display through April 15, 2016 at the Hawaii State Art Museum.

Mahalo to Leilehua High arts teachers Keith Sasada and Larry Taguba for your guidance and instruction with these fine student artists, and an extra congratulations to Sean Lopez, who has earned a national medal for his photography for the second year in a row.


  • Keatan Kamakaiwi, Leilehua High, grade 12, “My Childhood Dream” (Photography) 
  • Willie Jay Nicolas, Leilehua High, grade 12, “Inang” (Photography)


  • Rances Botacion, Leilehua High, grade 12, “Morning Shower” (Photography) 
  • Ty Jumawanraguirag, Leilehua High, grade 10,  “Three Faces” (Drawing and Illustration) 
  • Sheldon Labasan, Leilehua High, grade 12, "Observations" (Photography) 
  • Sean Joshua Lopez, Leilehua High, grade 12, “The Butcher" (Photography) 
  • Mackey Rivera, Leilehua High, grade 12, “Air Jordan" (Photography) 
  • Jasmine Singleton, Leilehua High, grade 11, “Merriment" (Photography) 
  • Sasha Tolbert, Leilehua High, grade 12, “Tunnel" (Photography) 


Congratulations as well to University Lab School, which had six students earn national ​recognition:
  • Hailey Shimabuku, grade 9, American Visions Medal, "Melancholy" (Sculpture)
  • Sylvie Tereschuk, grade 10, Gold Medal, "Chop Shop" (Fashion)
  • Zachary Bell, grade 11, Gold Medal, "Growth" (Sculpture)
  • Anton Allen, grade 11, Silver Medal, "Deep Sea Puddle" (Drawing and Illustration)
  • Ji Eun Yang, grade 12, Silver Medal, "Be Happy" (Drawing and Illustration)
  • John Fuller, grade 12, Silver Medal, "Aves" (Sculpture)
​V​iew the full list of national medalists from across the country and Hawaii here​.

About the program

The Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards is the longest-running, largest and most prestigious student recognition program in the United States. The Awards was established in 1923 by M. R. Robinson to encourage, foster, and reward creativity in our Nation’s students. In 1994, the nonprofit organization The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers was established. Its mission is to oversee the national competition, and provide guidance and support for the next generation of artists and writers. Throughout the program’s history, the Awards program has recognized some of our Nation’s most celebrated artists and writers.

Through the Scholastic Awards, teens in grades 7 through 12 from public, private, or home schools can apply in 29 categories​ of art and writing for their chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited and published. Beyond the Awards, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers produces a number of programs to support creative students and their educators, including the Art.Write.Now.Tour, the National Student Poets Program, the Scholastic Awards Summer Workshops and Scholastic Awards Summer Scholarships programs, the Golden Educators Residency, and much more.

Each year, more than 250,000 entries are submitted to a network of 80 regional sponsors who screen the entries and conduct local exhibitions and award ceremonies. The most outstanding works are awarded the highest honor and receive the American Vision Award Nominee and the Regional Gold Key Finalist. These finalists go on to represent their region in the National judging held in the spring in New York City. Panels of distinguished artists review over 15,000 works of art and select the national award recipients. These recipients receive national recognition and share monetary awards and/or scholarship offered by prestigious colleges, universities and art institutes.​ Learn more.​

​Nurtu​ring a lifelong passion for art​With 51 student works earning awards in the Hawaii Regional Scholastic Art Awards program, and nine medaling at the national level, all eyes are on Leilehua High's art department and its head, 38-year fine arts teacher Larry Taguba. "Winning is not the goal, but improvement is."​

Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: doe_info@hawaiidoe.org


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