These four Hewlett High School students stood out with their artwork


Four Hewlett High School students — Becky Feygin, Damaris Rodas Villatoro, Charles Zeledon and Olivia Ziarno — were among the 75 Nassau County high school artists selected to have their work displayed at the Art Guild, in Manhasset, as part of the Nassau County High School Student Juried Art Competition last month.

“We usually get one (student) in every few random years,” Andrew Fund, the Hewlett-Woodmere school district’s director of art and music, said. “This is the first time we’ve had four students selected in one year.”

The competition accepted some 300 submissions, 2D or 3D, from students at high schools around the county until Oct. 16, before judges chose the 75 finalists. Their work was on exhibit from Nov. 5 to 25 at the guild, after a reception on Nov. 5 to kick off the show.

All four Hewlett High students submitted work they had completed in art class. “We have a great art program, from our elementary schools all the way up to our high schools,” Fund said.

Feygin, a sophomore, received an email a week after she submitted her work, titled “6 Foot Reach,” informing her that it had been chosen for the exhibit.

“I was really happy,” she said. “I told my family right away.”

Zeledon, a junior, was honored for his work, titled “Matagalpa Street,” inspired by the street he grew up in Nicaragua.

“It was an emotional painting for me,” he said. “It was really hard to start it and finish.”

Zeledon was surprised to find out he had been selected as a competition finalist. “I felt very proud of myself,” he said. “I knew my parents were really proud. For me to hear that my art is valued made me really happy.”

Rodas Villatoro, a freshman, was also taken aback when she learned the news. “I was kind of surprised and I was happy, because I didn’t really think my art would get in,” she said.

Her work, titled “The Inner World” was done in charcoal, a medium she had never used before.

“It was really peaceful,” Villatoro Rodas said of the process, and added that she plans to keep creating. “I think I want to continue with drawing and painting and see where that takes me,” she said.

Ziarno, a junior, submitted a charcoal drawing titled “Skeleton in the Closet,” a class project she found herself motivated to completing.

“I was excited to bring it home and do more work on it on the weekends,” she said.

Ziarno expects her art career to extend beyond high school. “I’d like to major in something art-related in college,” she said.

Fund said he had high expectations for the budding artists. “They’re very young,” he said. “It’s amazing to see. If this is step one, we can only imagine what the following years will be like