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US Capitol recognizes student for artwork


Karenna Fife and California Representative Jimmy Panetta pose in front of the wall of Congressional Art Competition’s winning photos.

Karenna Fife was welcomed to the District of Columbia on June 29 to commemorate her winning photo for the annual Congressional Art Competition.

The photo is of a pair of folded hands, taken with a black-and-white filter and portraying the lifestyle of many individuals in Mexico. The CHS junior was on a family vacation and found herself speaking and learning the stories of countless people on the streets there, leading her to sit next to the woman in the photograph.

“Karenna’s piece, ‘La Vieja,’ will hang in the U.S. Capitol for an entire year,” said Jimmy Panetta, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, on Facebook. “I pass this piece every day when I’m in Washington because it is on my route from my office to the floor of the House of Representatives.”

More than 650,000 students entered the competition, three of which were from Carmel. Only five students in all were accepted within California’s 20th District.

“It was a huge honor to see my picture being hung in the Capitol building,” said Fife, a Photo 1 student at the time.

CHS photography teacher Holly Lederle notes the quality of the photograph Fife produced.

“[The photo has] very high technical skill and a cultural awareness that I thought was appropriate for the venue,” Lederle says.

The Congressional Institute’s goal is to encourage and recognize young students’ artwork, which left a lasting impression on the junior. Through this experience, Fife had the opportunity to fly to Washington and talk with other winners from around the country.

“I am impressed by the artistic talent that these high school students displayed,” said Panetta at a Hollister press release in late May.

Some other forms of winning artwork included paintings, photography, drawings and mixed media. The pieces were judged based on originality, material use, strength and execution. Fife’s piece clearly embodied all of these traits, and by doing so she won the competition in the district.

The CHS Padre was continually mentioned in the daily bulletin at CHS as well as on social media, and she currently inspires other students to look into this venue for the upcoming year.

Although Fife had already completed her goal in winning this competition, her photography passion is forever thriving. She continues to expand her talents and has an avid mindset, expecting great things in the near future.

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