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Creativity is in Bloom in Kyrene School District

Posted May 2022


Springtime in Kyrene School District is the season for creative exploration and endeavors. The Kyrene arts season began with the launch of the District Art Show, hosted in its virtual format for the second year. The interactive gallery can be explored from anywhere in the world, allowing friends and family near and far to enjoy the works of young Kyrene artists. In addition to the digital gallery, many school hallways proudly exhibit selected works for students and staff to enjoy each day.


“Kyrene has always had a robust arts program that allows students to express themselves in a variety of ways,” Julie Hackmann, District Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator shared. “The arts are an essential part of Kyrene’s commitment to educating the whole child.”


Whether painting, sculpting or singing, students in grades K-8 have plenty of opportunities for self-expression. In addition to the Art Show, the District also recognizes the art of the written word each year during the Kyrene Poetry Contest.


For the first time in three years, student poets were invited to the District Office to be formally recognized in front of the Superintendent, Governing Board, and community members. The 27 winners represented each grade level (K-8) from around Kyrene. Some students were selected to read their poems in front of the audience, moving many to tears.


Rachel Polay, a Kyrene Aprende Middle School English Language Arts and AVID teacher, coordinated this year’s event. “My heart was touched as I read these poems. While reading, there were multiple occasions where I laughed out loud, personally reflected, and yes—cried with the speaker of the poem,” Rachel told the Board.


Rachel also reminded young writers that, “There is such strength and unity in the written word. Your words hold power that can never be taken away from you.”


The 27 winners of the Poetry Contest received a certificate and 2022 anthology at the celebration.


Kindergarten: DeAndre Fisher (Kyrene de la Paloma Arts Integration Academy)

Kindergarten: Vikunth Kanukollu (Kyrene Traditional Academy)

Kindergarten: Casidhe Taylor (Kyrene de la Colina)


1st: Gracie Coleman (C.I. Waggoner)

1st: Elliott Lopez (Kyrene del Cielo)

1st: Maliyah Pinedo (Kyrene Digital Academy)


2nd: Addison Gibbs (Kyrene del Cielo)

2nd: Alejandro Santhanam (Kyrene de los Lagos Dual Language Academy)

2nd: Aliya Topkar (Kyrene de los Cerritos Leadership Academy)


3rd: Adrian Harrison (Kyrene de la Mirada Leadership Academy)

3rd: Zoe Morales Jimenez (Kyrene de los Lagos Dual Language Academy)

3rd: Chloe Snitselaar (Kyrene de las Manitas)


4th: Elise Klucsarits (Kyrene de los Lagos Dual Language Academy)

4th: Natalia Quintanilla-Piña (Kyrene de la Mariposa Computer Science Academy)

4th: Michael Yahyapour (Kyrene del Cielo)


5th: Madison Baumann (Kyrene de la Mirada Leadership Academy)

5th: Ryan Joyner (Kyrene de la Sierra)

5th: Zeke Scholes (Kyrene del Norte Dual Language Academy)


6th: Jennifer Carpenter (Kyrene Digital Academy)

6th: Remington Catana (Kyrene Traditional Academy)

6th: Jocelyn Prather (Kyrene Altadeña)


7th: Bella Duong (Kyrene Aprende)

7th: Tabitha Naegele (Kyrene Digital Academy)

7th: Natalie Yang (Kyrene del Pueblo)


8th: Lucy Abel (Kyrene Traditional Academy)

8th: Victoria De la O Lobo (Kyrene Digital Academy)

8th: Sarah Wiederkehr (Kyrene Altadeña)


Photos from the Kyrene Poetry Contest Board recognition event are attached. The District Art Show can be accessed on the Kyrene website through June 30.