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NFM student’s art work wins calendar competition

By Staff | May 20, 2016

North Fort Myers High School senior Gabriella Castellanos’s artwork made quite an impression recently.

Her talents allowed her to have her work grace the back cover of the 2017 Keep Lee County Beautiful’s “Leave The Scene Clean” calendar.

Her work will not only be on the cover, but also an environmental message. She also will receive a $500 cash scholarship along with the senior winner, courtesy of Covanta Energy.

That should go nicely with the $12,000 scholarship she received from the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club last week.

Castellano said she drew a flamingo, inspired by a friend’s mother who happened to like the bird.

“My friend was talking about how she loved flamingos and how her whole bathroom is decorated with them. That’s kind of what I started drawing,” Castellanos said.

Castellanos said it took her two weeks to create the artwork. She was inspired by a friend, Sara Hammad, who won the contest last year.

When she won, she said she was surprised.

“My best friend told me. She said she overheard my teachers talking about it. She was congratulating me and I thought she was joking,” Castellanos said.

Oddly, art is not in the immediate plans for Castellanos. She plans to go to Florida State to major in marketing. The Kiwanis scholarship will go a long way toward paying the bill.

“It’s a huge scholarship. I was very happy when I got it and very surprised, too,” Castellanos said. “I lot of my good friends got them, too.”

The contest drew thousands of entries from local students, representing public, private, and home schools in Lee County. Submitted work was judged on artistic execution and originality as well as environmental theme, such as litter prevention, recycling, community cleanup and protecting the environment.

The 12 first-place selections, one from each grade 1 through 12, in addition to the cover winner, will be featured in KLCB’s 2017 “Leave The Scene Clean” calendar.

The First Place Winners and their schools are:

Grade 1 Suzanne Greco, Oasis Charter Elementary

Grade 2 Alissa Figueiredo, St. Francis Xavier

Grade 3 Yasmin Calmo, Spring Creek Elementary

Grade 4 Challen Lowe, Oasis Charter Elementary

Grade 5 Ryann Kearney, Pelican Elementary

Grade 6 Gracie Goll, Three Oaks Middle

Grade 7 Abby Vick, NFM Academy for the Arts

Grade 8 Sedona Scott, Oasis Middle

Grade 9 Lauren McKirahan, Island Coast High School

Grade 10 Stephanie Dickey, Fort Myers High School

Grade 11 Tricia Shamburger, Cypress Lake High School

Grade 12 Zailyk Diaz, Island Coast High School

KLCB will host an awards ceremony at the Broadway Palm Theatre this fall, which will be free and open to the public. At that time the artwork will be exhibited, the calendar will be released, and the winners will receive their awards.

Keep Lee County Beautiful said it will not release the winning artworks until the calendar is released in the fall.