Stevens Elementary School fourth-grader Carlos Ordóñez-Flores wants to be an art teacher when he grows up. So it was no surprise that he took his time in art class with his holiday scene, created with pencil and oil pastel on black paper.
“I liked the idea of the snowman,” Ordóñez-Flores said. “I wanted him to be watching the sunset.”
After further thought, however, Ordóñez-Flores kept the sun in the background and gave the snowman some familiar clothing.
“The colors in the scarf reminded me of the scarf I have at home,” Ordóñez-Flores said. “The hat looks like one of my dad’s.”
All the work paid off as Ordóñez-Flores was one of 17 students from Houston ISD elementary, middle and high schools who were named finalists in HISD’s holiday card competition.
The finalists were chosen by the district’s area superintendents from a total of 95 entries. Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan selected winners at the elementary, middle and high-school levels.
Matthew Juarez, the art teacher at Stevens, said the school had an elementary school finalist last year as well.
Juarez selected Ordóñez-Flores’ work as a standout this year because of the way the young artist filled the space and because of his awareness of spatial conception and attention to detail.
“There were a lot of good ones,” Juarez said.
The highlight for student and teacher was a trip to the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center for a special artist reception. Juarez said the unveiling of the top three winners happened in dramatic fashion with a drop of a curtain. Despite the fact the elementary school winner was from Neff Elementary, Ordóñez-Flores took it all in stride.
“(The reception) was so good,” Ordóñez-Flores said. “I loved the chocolate chip cookies.”
All of the finalists, including Ordóñez-Flores, received a boxed set of their holiday cards. The cards also will be available for purchase and on display at the HISD administration building at 4400 W. 18th St.
Each year, the district sends out hundreds of holiday greeting cards to principals, board members, legislators, local leaders, parent groups and community partners. Since 2003, these cards have featured the artwork of HISD students.
Juarez intends to get some of the cards to send to his own family members. Ordóñez-Flores has plans for his as well.
“I’m going to send them to friends in class,” he said.
To purchase student-created cards, visit https://www.houstonisd.org/holidaycards.