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Two Woodbury High School seniors win awards for photography

This photograph by Olivia Boffeli is one of eight in her “Shadows” portfolio, which won a Gold Key Award in the annual Minnesota Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Contest. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
Woodbury High School seniors Isabella DelCastillo and Olivia Boffeli each won a Gold Key Award in the 2017 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards Contest. Boffeli (right) was recognized for all eight pieces in her portfolio. The two created their work as part of their advanced placement art course taught by Karen Seashor. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)2 / 3
Woodbury High School seniors Isabella DelCastillo and Olivia Boffeli each won a Gold Key Award in the 2017 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards Contest. Boffeli (right) was recognized for all eight pieces in her portfolio. The two created their work as part of their advanced placement art course taught by Karen Seashor. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)3 / 3

Painters, photographers and writers from Woodbury High School mounted a strong presence at the recent exhibit at the U of M Regis Center for Arts.

The exhibit, which closed Feb. 18, featured winning entries from the annual Minnesota Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest.

Woodbury High School students won 10 Gold Key Awards for their work. With 15 Silver Key winners and 30 honorable mentions, it represents the school's highest award count in the contest.

"We're proud of that," art department chairwoman Karen Seashore said. "Were just a regular high school offering all sorts of opportunity for our students. We're not just arts-focused."

The Gold Key winners will move onto the next round of competition in New York City. Judges there will select pieces for the national competition.

Among the Woodbury winners, two in particular achieved standout status.

Senior Isabella DelCastillo won the American Vision Award as best in show for her photograph "Discussion of Cheese," a photograph she snapped during a visit to France with her family.

"I was really happy because the picture I took was of my great uncle, and he's my favorite person in the whole world," she said. "So I was real happy to tell him."

Photographer and senior Olivia Boffeli earned her Gold Key recognition for her "Shadows," her eight-piece portfolio.

Each of her photos had to be good enough on their own to receive a Gold Key Award.

"In order to get a gold award for a portfolio, they need to accept all of them as worthy of gold," Seashore said.

That makes the award especially satisfying for Boffeli, who won a Gold and Silver Key Award in last year's competition.

"I was really excited because the award I got was for my portfolio," she said. "All eight pieces."

Asked about her approach, Boffeli replied: "I think just seeing things in a different or unusual way. When I take photos, I look for things that people wouldn't normally take pictures of."

DelCastillo brings a narrative sensibility to her photographs, which she said comes from her passion for reading.

"Liking reading and English as much as I do, I think it really helps my skills as an artist and photographer," she said.

Nearly 4,300 works of art from students in grades 7-12 across the state Minnesota were submitted to the annual competition.

Emma Lyons and Gemma Warren also won Gold Key Awards for photography, while Felix Oh and Nadia Porycky won three and two Gold Awards, respectively, for their paintings. Shawna Reagan won a Gold Award for graphic design.

National winners will be announced in April.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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