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SENATOR SHAPLEIGH, YISD, EPISD TO ANNOUNCE "¡GANAS!" STUDENT PHOTO AND ESSAY CONTEST
January 29, 2009

¡Ganas! is an international contest designed to promote youth empowerment. The program is a collaboration between the Office of Senator Eliot Shapleigh, the Municipio de Juarez, the El Paso Independent School District, the Ysleta Independent School District, the El Paso International Museum of Art and the City of El Paso.

Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh, www.shapleigh.org

El Paso - On Friday, January 30, 2009, at 10 a.m. at the El Paso International  Museum of Art, Senator Shapleigh and representatives from the El Paso and Ysleta school districts will announce the start of the ¡Ganas! student photo and essay contest.

¡Ganas! is an international contest designed to promote youth empowerment. The program is a collaboration between the Office of Senator Eliot Shapleigh, the Municipio de Juarez, the El Paso Independent School District, the Ysleta Independent School District, the El Paso International Museum of Art and the City of El Paso.

Within the next two weeks, digital cameras will be delivered to participating schools in El Paso and Juarez. Students will be asked to join the contest by taking photos of people, culture or places that have a positive influence on their values, families and community. Teachers will then mentor their students in writing a 100-word essay on what the photo means to them.

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"¡Ganas! empowers students to show us the way to safer streets, stronger families and selfless service to our communities," Senator Shapleigh said.

Any K-12 student who is enrolled in any school in the El Paso or Ysleta districts, or the Juarez school system may upload a photo and participate in the program free of charge. Students must only have a sponsoring teacher.

Once started, the contest is expected to involve nearly 2,500 student participants.

"We hope to help develop lifelong leaders inspired to participate in community building and active civic life," said Anna Pilhoefer, EPISD visual arts facilitator. "We are grateful for this opportunity to expose our students to new experiences and perspectives beyond their daily lives and to have their voices heard...con Ganas!"

Darian Tapia a senior at Eastwood High School in YISD will attend the press conference Friday. She previously participated in the "Paseno Art in Austin" photo contest sponsored by Senator Shapleigh's office, a precursor program to ¡Ganas!

"Having been involved since the inception of the Paseno Art in Austin, YISD is excited to see it branch out and involve our sister city of Juarez," said Melissa Barba-Espinosa, YISD gallery curator & educational specialist. "We are grateful that our students have the opportunity to express their pride in the community through photography. We are committed to the success of this worthwhile endeavor and look forward to seeing it grow in the future."

Student photos and essays will be loaded by teachers onto the ¡Ganas! Web site, http://ganas2009.com/. The final date for submissions is March 15, 2009. The best 300 photos from El Paso and Juarez, and their accompanying essays, will be displayed in the annual ¡Ganas! bi-national exposition at the El Paso International Museum of Art during the week of Cinco De Mayo.

Thereafter, the collection will travel to Austin for display in the State Capitol on June 1, 2009. Following Austin, the collection will travel to Juarez and Chihuahua City.

For more information on the project, please contact:

- Sarah Enriquez, Office of Senator Eliot Shapleigh at 915-544-1990 or by email at sarah.enriquez@senate.state.tx.us;

- Berenice Zubia, EPISD executive director of public relations at 915-887-5495 or by email at bzubia@episd.org; and

- Melissa Barba-Espinosa, YISD gallery curator & educational specialist at 915-434-9705 or by email at mespinosa1@yisd.net.

Media Note: Parking for the press conference will be available behind the museum in a lot on the corner of E. Rio Grande Ave. and Brown St.

What: Senator Shapleigh, YISD, EPISD  to announce "¡Ganas!" student photo and essay            contest

When: Friday, January 30, 2009, at 10 a.m.

Where: El Paso International Museum of Art, 1211 Montana Ave., El Paso, Texas 79902

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Click below to watch highlights from the ¡Ganas! press conference and screen captures from the ¡Ganas! Web site

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