Tag Archives: art

Intro to Visual Arts allows students to explore artistic techniques

By Jamil Abed and Joseph Gutierrez

Staff Writers

When you walk into the Intro to Visual Arts classroom, pieces around the class provide an energetic atmosphere. The Intro to Visual Arts Expeditions course helps students learn different techniques and tactics in regards to art.

“I chose this class because I love drawing, and I want art to be a part of my career,” Denali sophomore Sara Ditto said.

“I chose to become an art teacher because I am an artist by trait, and I like being able to go over the skills that I learned throughout my art career and giving students a chance to express themselves in different formats is very important to me,” Visual Arts teacher Mathew Scicluna said.

See below for a video about the Intro to Visual Arts course:

Course puts students through the behind the scenes magic of filming

By Judy Ly

Staff Writer

In the Video Production Expeditions course, students have the opportunity to explore the process of producing a film.  Through projects, such as creating a mockumentary and a silent film, students get to explore different roles and different perspectives on the behind the scenes magic.  Students are able to act as a director, a camera operator, a scriptwriter or an actor.

When asked what takeaway he had from this class, Rainier freshman Andrew Pescatore said, “Well, I learn how movies are made … with, like, different shots.” He followed his answer with fundamentals he learned about what goes into a film, such as different shots, good lighting and the rule of thirds.


Video Production shows the community how they film a scene at their Celebration of Learning showcase.

For the Celebration of Learning project, instructor Vincent Nelson decided to include family and friends as part of a short skit, taking place in a student council election. Members of the community acted as the audience for the shoot. Instead of just watching videos made from previous projects, this allowed them to see how students would’ve made the video.

See below for a video about this course:

Students show creativity in Expeditions

By Shawn Wilson

Staff Writer

Art is all about expression and personality, something the students taking arts Expeditions courses at Everest Public High School showed during Everest’s Celebration of Learning.

Visual Arts

Students in the Visual Arts course were tasked with creating art pieces that represented themselves and their own interpretation of an image.

The students all created a picture of a unique eye, with various other elements such as the eye’s reflection showing an image or creative choices with its overall shape. Everest sophomore Samantha Suchite said her art teacher “told us to make it


Everest sophomore Samantha Suchite PHOTO CREDIT: Cameron Eberle

what we perceive, what our interests are. For instance, mine is focused on nature – that’s what I like.” Her picture takes pieces of nature and incorporates them into an eye, such as the lacrimal caruncle (the small pink flesh close to the nose) being hooked to look like a bird’s beak and the eyebrow growing into trees.




An eye, inspired by nature, drawn by Samantha Suchite PHOTO CREDIT: Shawn Wilson


Students from the Arts Expeditions course showcased some of their drawings on the main Everest staircase. PHOTO CREDIT: Cameron Eberle

Rock Band

Rock Band is an Expeditions course at the Riekes Center. It educates students wanting to learn or improve their music skills through the help of musically skilled teachers. For Celebration of Learning, Rock Band instructors allowed students to practice their new found skills by performing in front of different-sized audiences. The students built their piece off a cover of a song and showcased their ability to have fun while performing.

Everest freshman Mako Oshiro said that students in the class “learn to play music and get to choose songs.” Students develop and practice their musical skills in this class and even reignite old passions. Everest sophomore Rojo Mendoza said, “I love Rock Band. I used to play drums, and then I stopped playing. Then, Rock Band helped me pick it up again, and that was such an awesome thing to do for me.”

Students who took the Rock Band Expeditions course performed in the main lobby at the start of the Celebration of Learning and then moved out back as the crowd got ready for Everest’s award ceremony. See below for clips of their performances. VIDEO CREDITS: Teresa Faasolo



Creative Writing

Creative Writing is offered at Everest Public High School as an Expeditions class in which students can express themselves through multiple ways, including poems. Students make poems using figurative language and then present those poems to an audience. It is a place where students can show off their writing capabilities.

For the Celebration of Learning, the class put on a Poetry Slam, which is a spoken word competition. Everest freshmen Kaitlyn Hutcheson (below left) and Carmela Bello (below right) won first place.

Hutcheson said that her poem is “based off of music and how it is connected to me – and how, even in hard times in my life, I can always go to music because I feel like it understands me.” Bello said her poem is about “forgiving people” and learning to “not let others bring you down.”

Everest senior Madilyn Middlebrooks performs during the Celebration of Learning Poetry Slam. VIDEO CREDIT: Jose Luiz Sarabia

Madilyn Middlebrooks, a graduating Everest senior, performed a piece about what it means to be beautiful in society today and what we can do to break the stereotype. She feels that “in American society there is only one beauty standard. I wanted to tell people there is so much more to being beautiful than our outward appearance.”


Everest senior Sierra Sholes performs during the Celebration of Learning Poetry Slam. VIDEO CREDIT: Jose Luiz Sarabia

Everest graduating senior Sierra Sholes wrote her poem about a giant, explaining that’s “what was in my head” at the time.

Staff Writers Cameron Eberle, Teresa Faasolo and Jose Luiz Sarabia contributed to this report.

Arts affect student learning

By Alexis Sanchez

Staff Writer

Some studies report that researchers see no evidence that arts affect student learning, while others report that they have seen academic improvement from students who are involved in the arts.

post showing “10 Salient Studies on the Arts in Education” from The Center for Online Education has an article on a 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership which reveals that students who are “exposed to drama, music and dance are often more proficient at reading, writing and math.”

However, a New York Times article, from 2007, cites the continuing debate around a 2000 study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education which found that arts don’t actually improve academic performance.

Are arts interfering with students’ work, or are they helping students with their work?Students from two different Redwood City schools said participating in the arts has helped them with their studies:


Miriam Yopihua, a freshman from Woodside High School Redwood City, plays the piano.


Miriam Yopihua, a freshman from Woodside High School Redwood City


Q: What type of art do you do?

A: “I do piano, music.”

Q: Why did you decide to join piano?

A: “My teacher from second grade told me that she used to be a piano teacher, and she used to take us to the piano lab, and I started getting interested in it, and I started playing it.”

Q: Did it help you in any way in school, or did it interfere with your work? If you had homework or anything, did it interfere with your work, or did it help?

A: “No, not really, but it did help.”

Q: What did you like about it?

A: “I like the different type of tones that each key had.”

Q: If you could change learning piano to any other type of art, what would you choose?

A: “Probably the violin.”

Q: How does it affect your learning? Did it help you in any way, say when you would get stressed?

A: “Oh yeah, it helps me calm me down.”

Q: What do you believe schools would be like without arts?

A: “Boring and quiet because everybody listens to music no matter what type it is.”


Xitlalli Ramos, a freshman from Woodside High School in Redwood City, plays multiple instruments. 


Xitlalli Ramos, a freshman from Woodside High School in Redwood City

Q: What type of art do you do?

A: “Music.”

Q: Why did you decide to join music?

A: “I played the instruments; I like music, and they needed a bassist.”

Q: Does music help you in any way with your schoolwork, or does it interfere with your work?

A: “It helps me with math because it’s related.”

Q: What do you like about music?

A:“Just that it’s fun, and I like math too, so it kinda helps me.”


Q: If you could change from music to any type of art, what would you change it to?

A: “I would probably do art like ceramics.”

Q: Who does it affect your learning other than math?

A: “It kinda helps me keep focus, like how I focus reading the notes.”

Q: Has music ever bothered your studying? Or have you ever lost time to do work?

A: “I don’t think so.”

Q: What do you believe schools would be like without arts?

A: “I don’t think it would be much creative, and it wouldn’t be any fun, like people would need to find new ways to help kids because I believe that music helps kids learn things like alphabets.”


Britanny Vasces, a freshman from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, participates in visual art classes.


Britanny Vasces, a freshman from Sequoia High School in Redwood City

Q: What type of art do you do?

A: “Normal art classes where they teach you shading, proportions and stuff like that.”

Q: Why did you decide to join art?

A: “Because I always liked art. It’s one of my favorite topics in school.”

Q: What do you like about it?

A: “I like how people can express themselves with it, and how without using words you can understand what they’re saying.”

Q: If you could change the type of art you are in, what would you change it to?

A: “I guess dance. I would change it to a more private kind of way.”

Q: How did it affect your learning?

A: “It made me pay more attention in class. I try to draw what I’m learning sometimes.”

Q: So it helped you in school instead of interfering?

A: “Yeah, yeah it did. It didn’t interfere with my work.”

Q: What do you believe schools would be like without arts?

A: “I guess pretty boring. Sad.”




Students showcase diversity in their community by creating art pieces

By Andrea Pena

Staff Writer

Community and diversity are highly encouraged at Summit Preparatory Charter High School. Students enrolled in the Visual Arts Expeditions course show diversity in their community by creating pieces of art that illustrate their uniqueness as well as their dreams, interests and passions. Art is a diverse range of activities in which artists create visual, auditory or performance works. Art allows artists to express their imagination, skill, personal interests, personality and passions. It is typically appreciated for its beauty or emotional power.

Here’s a look at a few Summit Prep artists and their creative process:


Summit Prep freshman Britney Mendoza said, “I did this drawing specifically because I was using a color palette generator, and I was trying to design a character for someone on Instagram.”


Mendoza said, “This was made three weeks ago mostly because I like doing stuff like war and blood, and it’s just really relaxing to me.”


Mendoza said, “It’s two dinosaurs from Jurassic World; it’s one of my favorite movies.”

Summit Prep freshman Britney Mendoza talks about the motives behind creating her art work.


Summit Prep sophomore Hana Ahmed said, “The type of art I like to do is character design and storyboarding and animation because when I was little I always aspired to be a part of making a Pixar film.

Summit Prep sophomore Hana Ahmed talks about how her art relates to one of her dreams.

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Summit Prep senior Reyna Nava said, “What drew me to draw this or, well, paint this, was my passion for space and adventures and bringing light and positivity to spray paint which is seen as graffiti and for many years was seen as a bad thing.”

Summit Prep senior Reyna Nava talks about how one of her passions inspired her to create her work of art.


Summit Prep sophomore Miriam Rojas said, “I drew this art because I like Camaros and that’s my dream car.”


Summit Prep sophomore Miriam Rojas talks about how an interest of hers led to her to create her art.

IMG_0041Summit Prep sophomore Marlene Vasquez said, “I decided to draw Amy Winehouse because for this project we were given the task to draw someone we idolize, or just a portrait of someone, and I really like Amy Winehouse; her music is so nice I love it.”

Summit Prep sophomore Marlene Vasquez explains how Amy Winehouse inspired her to create her work of art.

Expeditions students explore their passions

By Cindy Aviles

Staff Writer

Expeditions classes allow students to explore many subjects they are passionate about. There were many diverse classes that presented at the Celebration of Learning on May 11, giving students and parents from Summit Public School: Rainier the opportunity to see what other students care about and what they have worked so hard on during Expeditions.

AP Art: Taught by Eli Cetto

The AP Art class at Summit Rainier is full of talented and ambitious students striving to achieve college credit for their work. The class is taught by Eli Cetto, a professional artist from the Bay Area. She has pushed students to reach their full potential by offering constructive criticism to make sure each student has the best portfolio when submitting to the College Board.

Visual arts 2

On May 11, during the annual Celebration of Learning night, students from the AP Art class were able to showcase the work they have been producing in class for the eight weeks of Expeditions.


Journalism teacher Elizabeth DeOrnellas looks at some of the art produced by Rainier senior Max Sanchez.

Intro to Art: Taught by Eli Cetto

Students in this class are given the chance to create art in various mediums and are taught the basic skills of composition. During this class, they were given the chance to learn new things and to create meaningful pieces.

Students in the Intro to Art class presented a range of pieces. 

Here’s what some students had to say about their work: 

Rainier freshman Sophie Gao said, “Art is fun and suffering.”

“I like art because it’s like a fun class to take and also you get to try new things that you don’t really get to do, I guess,” Rainier sophomore Angel Chavez said. “There are also different types of art, and sometimes we get to do different art styles. It’s just a fun class.”

Rainier freshman Gabriela Morales Garcia said,  “I made more than I expected, and I had a lot of free time to make more art.”

“Art makes me feel happy. I like art because there’s no boundaries and no limits,” Rainier freshman Elliott Alejo said. “What inspires me is a community itself, what other people lay out in front of me.”

Here are some additional images of the art created by students in this course:

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Yoga: Taught by Regina Garcia

Students in the Yoga Class created posters that displayed different yoga poses, how to do them and what their benefits are. Here are a series of posters that the students made, describing meditations and poses:

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Holocaust: Taught by Lissa Thiele

In this class, students speak deeply about what the Holocaust was and about the impact of other traumatic events. During Celebration of Learning, small artifacts and posters that the students created were on display.


This picture shows the creativity the students put into their project.


The exhibit displayed a series of images from Japanese internment camps.


Students created a gallery display for visitors.

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Rainier sophomore Andy Nguyen discusses the exhibit with seniors Anthony Nguyen-Pham and Hunter Lindstrom.

Here are additional images of the exhibit created by the Holocaust course:

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Human Sexuality:  Taught by Lia Pinelli

In this class, students talk about the reproductive system and are given a space to talk about things in Human Sexuality that might seem uncomfortable to talk about to others. They learn a lot from this class, which is basically a sex education class, and their presentation included such topics as how to handle coming out and how parents can learn to have conversations with their children in a comfortable and accepting manner.


Rainier sophomore Katherin Vasquez explains her slides on healthy relationships to the parents.


Students talk with the parents about the reproductive system to normalize terms used in Human Sexuality.


Teacher Assistant and Rainier senior Maya Jaquez gives a small speech about Human Sexuality and her experience in the class as she introduces the class.

Girls Rising: Taught by Lia Pinelli

This class allows girls in our school to come together and talk about issues that women face. This class allows girls to grow a small community that helps them personally. They talk about issues that they might face and how certain issues can be handled.




This program shows the names of the students in the Girl Rising Class who gave a series of presentations about problems that women face and created videos related to women’s issues.







Rainier freshmen Madelin Morales and Lariza Flores give a presentation about girls and education. This presentation explained how some women take education for granted, while many girls around the world don’t have access to education. Many women face barriers just to receive education and jobs.


The Girl Rising class attracts a crowd during the Celebration of Learning.


Rainier junior Faith Martinez gives a presentation about abusive relationships. She created a video with a series of interviews. People interviewed were given a scenario of an abusive relationship and students answered if it is an abusive relationship or not. A hot line for abusive relationships is also given at the end of the video.

Staff Writers Ashley Venegas, Cristian Trujillo, Isaiah Garcia, Max Sanchez, Ariana Medina, Alex Bonnett, Harmandeep Dhaliwal and Janniven Hernandez contributed to this report. 

Public art spreads a message

By Liz Kromrey

Staff Writer

Walking around San Jose, public art can be seen almost every time you turn the corner. What does all this art mean? Why is it there?

Right: In schools, public art can be found on walls, on posters and in many other places.
Eli Cetto, who teaches Visual Arts for the Expeditions team, said, “Public art is most effective when it’s in spaces for people to enjoy.”

MiddleArt students at Summit Public School: Rainier were taught by Ms. Eli how to create art to be shown in public; these wire sculptures allow students to put a message into the art they create, even if it’s just a simple message such as showing a hobby that they like to do. 

Left: Many of the students created wire sculptures of people who they look up to, objects from places they wish to go or things they wish to do.


Many artists who have their art in public spaces have it there for a reason. This reason could be to prove a point or to share an opinion. For instance, a person passing a mural down in San Jose might think it signifies something different than it actually does.


Left: Karren Windsor, a Rainier English teacher, said, “If it’s artistic, then it tells me somebody is trying to build a community.” 

Right: This mural was created by students for students; it can be found on the Rainier campus, where it hangs near one of the gates.

Many artists have something in mind when creating their art, and they are able to find different ways of showing that message. By interviewing local artists, as well people who don’t know or follow art that often, it is easy to get different opinions about what public art signifies.

Left: Summit Rainier has pieces of public art all over campus. This piece is an example of teamwork and of a message shared by the school.

Middle: Graffiti can be found all over Downtown San Jose. Much of the graffiti is made by people who want to have their opinion heard. “I’ve also seen one that was like stop human trafficking,” Mrs. Windsor said, explaining that public art is used to spread awareness of problems which occur in the society that surrounds us.

Right: Graffiti is popular to do in places where it is difficult to reach but can still be seen.


Often times most public art is graffiti or murals. Murals are made by artists who either got permission to use a wall or were paid to make said mural. Graffiti, in contrast, is typically made illegally, but there are also artists who use spray paint to do amazing art on public streets. These types of artists typically buy a pass to allow them to paint or draw in public areas, Ms. Eli said. Often times, these artists are able to make money selling their art.


Left: “I love collaborative work that involves the community’s voice,” Ms. Eli said. “I think that when artists bring in the opinions or skills or culture or practices of the local residents into their work.”

Middle: Many people post online, or on social media, and are able to share their art, turning what originally was private art into public art.

RightDepending on what is being shown in the art, the message can change from negative to positive in an instant. For instance, the Multicultural Club shows how even though some people might see cultures as being independent from others, cultures can band together and be made into a community.