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Under 20 awards: Young artists recognized

March 22, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Pine Island Eagle

Students from high schools in Cape Coral, North Fort Myers and Lehigh are among those who were recognized at the annual ArtFest Fort Myers event held last month.

The event brought together the best high school artists in the areas of photography, painting, drawing, 3-D, mixed-media and digital.

ArtFest Fort Myers awarded $8,000 in prizes to Lee County high school students at the Art Under 20 Award Reception, held at the Harborside Event Center on Feb. 28.

Among the winners were Christiana Nelson of North Fort Myers, who won for photography, and Anna Skrobach, of Cape Coral, who took first in painting. Each received a $400 cash award.

Skrobach, a senior, created an oil painting of an African-American child in a red background, which was crated along with another painting of a Syrian girl.

"I wanted to bring attention to the cause with African children soldiers. I wanted to show sympathy for those children," Skrobach said, who started painting as a freshman but has been drawing and sketching for much longer. "My main motivation is that painting relieves stress and I like painting people because I'm good at it."

Skrobach said she was surprised she won, since she hadn't won anything for her artwork before. Despite that, she said art is going to be secondary to what she wants to do with herself.

"I want to go into medicine, but I also want to keep painting as a hobby, because it relieves stress. I want to go to either Florida or Florida State," Skrobach said.

Nelson, a junior who wants to take up photography as a major at NYU despite only having taken it up last year, did underwater photography, the same photo that won at Digital Knight last year.

"My teacher gave us a theme and told us to do whatever we think of. I wanted to do something underwater," Nelson said. "She had an underwater camera, went to my friend's pool and took pictures underwater."

This wasn't as easy as it sounds, since she had to come up for air every few seconds and getting the perfect shot took hours, said Nelson, who took the course to get AICE credit and didn't realize how difficult - or enjoyable- it would be.

Also taking the podium was Kaeleigh Valdes of Riverdale, who finished third in 3-D, and Breanna Fray of Lehigh, who was third in digital. They earned a $100 cash award.

The complete list of winners is:


Zhengbai Xia, Canterbury School


1st: Christiana Nelson, North Fort Myers High

2nd: Akira Ison, Fort Myers High

3rd: Lauren Kier, Cypress Lake High


1st: Anna Skrobach, Cape Coral High

2nd: Rebecca Casimir, Cypress Lake High

3rd: Hannah Gatof, Cypress Lake High


1st: Raja Al-Bahou, South Fort Myers High

2nd: Anglea Shi, Bishop Verot

3rd: Jean Achaval, Fort Myers High


1st: Roger Al-Bahou, South Fort Myers High

2nd: Sephora Augustin, Fort Myers High

3rd: Kaeleigh Valdes, Riverdale High


1st: Gabriella Hesse, Fort Myers High

2nd: Saian Colon, Cypress Lake High

3rd: Deanna Craig, Cypress Lake High


1st: Michelle Fleishaker, Canterbury School

2nd: Lyrica Parker-Bernet, Cypress Lake High

3rd: Breanna Fray, Lehigh Senior High

PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Skyler Lowden, Fort Myers High School

FEWSTER FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP AWARD #1: Fiona Dowling, Fort Myers High School

FEWSTER FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP AWARD #2: Maxine Miville, Fort Myers High School

IKKI MATSUMOTO AWARD: Sam Finley, Cypress Lake High School

BRUCE TYSON AIA AWARD: Kristin Daidone, Fort Myers High School


1. Katelyn Coate, Lehigh Senior High

2. Celia Pardi, Mariner High

3. Eidaliz Rivera, Island Coast High

4. Angel Andalon, Estero High

5. Delilah Welch, Oasis High

6. Nate Diemer, Canterbury School

7. Shi Ting Wang, Lehigh Senior High

8. Jaden Thomas, Cape Coral High

9. Jennifer Glore, Estero High

10. Ameena Persaud, Riverdale High

11. Madison Brewer, Cypress Lake High

12. Nolan Nowak, Cypress Lake High

13. Emily McCallion, Fort Myers High

14. Aracely Garza, Estero High

15. Nicole Holdgrafer, Bishop Verot

16. Kayla Hogan, Cape Coral

17. Victoria Regnaert, Fort Myers High

18. Peyton Hornung, Canterbury School

19. Emma Saerz, Cape Coral High

20. Lidia Bernal, Mariner High



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