Castillo's artwork earns her national acclaim

At left, Jazmine Castillo's original work, "Remembrance," is a portrait of Vietnam veteran Don Blakely imposed over a map of Vietnam. It won first place in the Congressional Art Competition for District 25. Right, Burnet High School art teacher Kim Timmons, left, and Burnet High School student Jazmine Castillo, right, with U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, after Castillo won the Congressional Art Competition for Williams' district. Timmons and Castillo visited Washington, D.C. to see her artwork hung in the Capitol and toured a number of local attractions.








By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

This spring, Burnet High School student Jazmine Castillo's artwork was chosen by U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, as his district's first place entry in the Artistic Discovery Contest.

Her piece, titled “Remembrance,” has received much recognition since its completion, as it won eighth place in the Veteran's of Foreign Wars Patriotic Art Competition before its first place win in the Congressional Art Competition.

Castillo's piece captures the likeness of Vietnam veteran and Marble Falls VFW Post No. 10376 member Don Blakely over a tea-stained map of Vietnam, and honors his service overseas protecting his country.

The Burnet High School Interact Club, of which Castillo is the vice president, works with the VFW posts in the area, and it was during this time that Castillo met Blakely and heard his story.

“He had an amazing life story, so I decided to draw him over the tea-stained map of Vietnam to kind of show the memories he had of being there,” Castillo said.

Blakely served 22 years in the United States Coast Guard and Navy, serving a few terms in Vietnam engaging in sea combat, blocking arms and ammunition from coming through the Mekong Delta.

“I feel very privileged to have been asked to be a part of her project,” Blakely said. “Volunteering for that was awesome for me, especially because of the fact that she is such a good artist at such a young age.”

Castillo's accomplishment won her two round-trip plane tickets to Washington, D.C., to attend a reception at the Capitol building in June, which turned out to be her first trip on an airplane as well. At the Capitol, Castillo met with Roger Williams and witnessed her own artwork hanging in the halls of the historic building.

“The trip was fantastic,” Castillo said. “I loved it. We were given a tour of the building and went through the hall where all of the pieces hung; it was amazing artwork.”

During the remainder of their trip, Castillo and Burnet High School art teacher Kim Timmons had the opportunity to tour other memorable sites, including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museums of American History and Natural Science.

“We also visited the National Gallery of Art, where I saw Van Gogh's self-portrait,” Castillo said. “I just stood there amazed because I was looking at this piece of art he actually worked on.”

This achievement is just an addition to Castillo's list, as her artwork has been recognized multiple times throughout her high school career. Just this year, she participated in the Paint the Town event in Marble Falls, where her Plein Air piece won second place.

Castillo participates in a variety of extracurricular activities. Along with being the vice president of BHS's Interact Club, she had the opportunity to serve on the staff of the Rotary Youth Leadership Camp; is president of the Health Occupations Students of America, or HOSA; serves on the Bulldog Crew Club; and is a Spirit Pride and Honor leader.

Castillo also participates in Varsity UIL Speech and Debate in Oral Interpretive Poetry, UIL Spelling, National Honor Society, and the National Art Honor Society. On top of these accomplishments, Castillo was recognized as an AP Scholar and sits at the top of her class going into her senior year.

After graduation, Castillo hopes to attend Rice University in the fall and work towards a career in anesthesiology.

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