Local students selected as finalists in 2020 Young Artists and Authors Showcase

Two local students were selected as national finalists in Sister Cities International’s 2020 Young Artists and Authors Showcase. Amber Lee was selected as a finalist for her piece titled “United We Stand.” Courtesy photo.

News release

The city of Santa Clarita has announced that two local students were selected as national finalists in Sister Cities International’s 2020 Young Artists and Authors Showcase. 

Amber Lee, from Valencia High School, was selected as a U.S. finalist in the art category for her piece titled, “United We Stand.” Sydney Hooper, from Saugus High School, was selected as a finalist for her poem titled, “Stronger Than Ever.” All of the YAAS finalists and winners can be found at SisterCities.org/YAAS. 

Each entry for the 2020 YAAS focused on the theme, “One World: Out of Many, We Are One.” Every participating student showed how they were inspired by the theme through art, photography, essays and poems that reflect their vision of unity in the world. 

Lee’s vibrant artwork shows many different colors and representations, all combined on a single face. According to Lee, what inspired her was “the constant division between people and coming to the realization that we are no different from one another.” 

Hooper’s work travels through a range of emotions from fear to grief and love, demonstrating how, together, we are stronger than ever. Hooper said, “I was deeply affected by this tragic event (Saugus High shooting) and wanted to demonstrate how a community can come together to support one another.” 

Santa Clarita is a member of Sister Cities International and has two international Sister Cities in Tena, Ecuador, and Sariaya, Philippines. Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network based in Washington, D.C., and was formed in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to create and strengthen partnerships between the United States and international communities. 

To learn more about Santa Clarita’s Sister Cities Program, visit scvipsantaclarita.org or email [email protected].

Winning poem: “Stronger than Ever” by Sydney Hooper 

Simple, standard routine

Rushing, always late

My brother hollering from the stairs

Worried, frantically studying

An endless sea of children

Odd, skeptical, unsettling

Screams, banging on the window

Heart pounding through my throat

Safe at home, yet, terrified for others

A storm of messages: yes, I’m okay

At least physically

Shock and horror settles, a deep pit

Anguish, grief, despair

Clutching loved ones

Until leaders shed the light

Demonstrating the power of unity

Night of healing, compassion

Family banded together

Marked by this tragedy, yet

Stronger than ever.

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