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Fourth Grader Wins NHA’s Holiday Card Art Contest

Every year National Heritage Academies (NHA) holds an art contest for the holiday card among any scholar who wants to submit an entry. This year’s winner is Estrella (Star) Torres, a fourth grader in Amie Robinson’s class at Timberland Charter Academy.
K-8 Art Teacher Guillermo Embil worked with the Timberland students at the end of October in his classes. Students could take the project home if they wanted more time to work on their entry. Torres did just that.
Torres decided to draw a Christmas tree similar to the one she has at home.
 Children drawing of a Christmas tree.
Timberland Charter Academy fourth grader Estrella (Star) Torres’ winning artwork.

“I started using a pencil,” Torres said. “Drawing the tree was the hardest part, then I used markers to color it in.”
Torres won $50 in gift cards. She split it between Starbucks and Five Below. Embil received a $50 Staples gift card for classroom supplies.
“I am so excited to hear this news regarding NHA’s holiday art contest,” Timberland Principal Stephen Evans said. “Special thanks are extended to our art instructor Mr. Embil for encouraging our students to participate. Estrella’s artwork is truly beautiful.”

Child drawing of a star and a Christmas present. 
Embil sorted through his scholars’ artwork to pick about 20 pieces to send into the competition. In total, there were more than 100 entries judged.
“I chose Star’s art as one of the pieces to send in because for me the best kind of art is the one you don’t have to think about,” Embil said. “It said Christmas to me. It wasn’t overdone with a bunch of ornaments or extra stuff. She kept it simple and did a good job with it.”

National Heritage Academies logo.Torres is credited for her artwork on the back of the holiday card.

Torres’ art was used to create NHA’s Christmas card that is mailed to 8,200 employees, board members, lobbyists, authorizers, and vendors in nine states.
Hearing that made Torres and Embil smile.
“Hear that?” Embil said to Torres. “People in New York and all over are going to be looking at your work!”
Also, Torres will receive a small supply for her family to send out a few of her special Christmas cards. She has three sisters.
“I like to do art, but it takes me a long time,” Torres said. “When I mess up, I want to throw it in the garbage and start again. My sister encourages me to keep going and to never give up.”

Estrella (Star) Torres standing with her K-8 Art Teacher Guillermo Embil.Timberland fourth grader and holiday art contest winner Estrella (Star) Torres stands with her K-8 Art Teacher Guillermo Embil.

Congratulations to Star Torres! Keep up the good work!
About Timberland Charter Academy
Timberland Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Muskegon, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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