Twelve talented photographers from South Bay schools won honors for their work creatively showcasing the importance and beauty of water in the Sweetwater Authority annual High School Photo Contest.
The winners were selected from 65 students who submitted more than 150 entries in two categories: black and white and color photography.
In each photo, water plays a central part in favorite activities and quality of life.
“The Board is proud to support this annual contest, which helps draw attention to water as an essential and precious resource,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “We are continually amazed by the talent and photography skills of students in our service area.”
Ashley Monroy, Hilltop High School, Grade 12 – “Summer Day”
First place winner Ashley Monroy, a senior at Hilltop High School, described her winning entry “Summer Day.”
“I wanted to show how two best friends are playing with water on a sunny summer day,” said Monroy. “These two girls are playing with water balloons. This is something you do for fun with your friends and family.”
Huynh Hoang, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 12 – “Drip Drip”
Bonita Vista High School senior Huynh Hoang portrayed the value of groundwater in “Drip Drip.”
“The repercussions of over-using fresh water are vast: future generations will struggle for water supply, the cost of drilling and pumping water will rise,” said Hoang. “Being a responsible water user is to look at daily habits and use of water and make changes that will minimize or eliminate water waste.”
Guadalupe Estrada, Chula Vista High School, Grade 11 – “Kissing Reflection”
Guadalupe Estrada, a junior at Chula Vista High School, called his photo “Kissing Reflection,” writing, “A bird is digging through the water, finding and eating any insects swimming around, creating a perfect mirrored reflection of it at the same time. This goes to show how not only is this resource valuable, but is also a gateway to hidden beauty and serenity.”
Black & White Photography
Skyler Yowakim, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 9 – “Making A Wave”
In her entry essay, Freshman Skylar Yowakim of Bonita Vista High School described her winning photo: “Drainpipes allow wastewater to be disposed of from buildings. The wastewater is then conserved by flowing through our community’s sterilized sewer system and then transferred to a wastewater treatment facility. Wastewater treatment facilities are beneficial because they protect people and our ecosystem from the toxic elements that are found in wastewater.”
Andres Cornejo, Chula Vista High School, Grade 11 – “Eleutheromaniac”
Second Place winner Andres Cornejo, a junior at Chula Vista High School, came up with the unique title “Eleutheromaniac” for his photo, providing this definition: “Eleutheromaniac: one who seeks freedom beyond reach. He notices that the water has overcome this freedom and can course freely anywhere with no halt or hesitation. A constant freedom that fills the subject with jealousy at fault. A constant search that humans try to achieve this natural state of water.”
Joaquin Angulo, Hilltop High School, Grade 12 – “Showers”
Joaquin Angulo, a senior at Hilltop High School, won third place for his photo “Showers,” which described his experience. “Having access to clean, fresh water is something that people often take for granted. I am thankful that I have access to water because it is essential for one’s wellbeing.”
Honorable Mentions awarded to eight additional photos for their outstanding quality
Color Category: Carlee Gregg, 11th Grade, Hilltop High School, “Refreshing Life;” Skyler Yowakim, 9th Grade, Bonita Vista High School, “Stepping Into The Future;” Sebastian Pimentel Lugo, 9th Grade, Sweetwater High School “Solin Bath;” Nathan Isaac C. Colmenares, 12th Grade, Chula Vista High School, “Simple Joy.”
Black and White Category: Joaquin Angulo, 12th Grade, Hilltop High School, “Leaf Droplets;” Esteban Robledo, 12th Grade, Hilltop High School, “Handwashing Against The Virus;” Janet Mendoza, 11th Grade, Hilltop High School, “Backyard Beauty;” Noah Kitcher, 10th Grade, Bonita Vista High School, “Misty.”
Judging was done through a blind selection process by Sweetwater Authority staff members and Bonita Museum & Cultural Center Director Wendy Wilson. First-place winners in each category were awarded $400; second place, $300; third place, $200; and $50 for Honorable Mention.
The winning photos can be viewed in a slideshow on the Sweetwater Authority website. A special exhibit at the Bonita Museum & Cultural Center will showcase the winning photographs through June 30.
(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)