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Sam Rayburn HS art students named Rodeo Grand Champions 6 out of last 8 years

Last year’s Grand Champion drawing by Hector Maldonado was auctioned off for a record $240,000.

PASADENA, Texas — A high school senior in Pasadena ISD has been named Grand Champion in the Houston Rodeo’s School Art Program.

Senior Anthony Vega’s winning piece is a colored drawing titled “Morning Pep Talk.”

The 18-year-old is far from the first student from his high school to take home the top prize.

Sam Rayburn High School students have won Grand Champion six of the last eight years.

So, what makes the program so successful?

“Part of it is the teachers we have. They work really hard with us. They stay after school with us. Not just any teacher would do that,” Vega said.

Art department head Daniel Reyna has another theory.

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“I think what makes us special is the students. I think we have hard-working students who work day and night to get these pieces done,” Reyna said.

Their pieces showcase beautiful colors and composition, all while telling a story.

When they win the Houston Rodeo’s School Art Program, it leads to scholarships.

 “A lot of our kids need that money to pay for college and to go to school and stuff. That’s a big drive for them,” Reyna said.

Vega hopes his future is in civil engineering. His art may help him get there.

“I’m definitely proud of myself. It was a lot of hard work,” he said.

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