Patriotic painting earns PM student $10,000

Penn Manor High School student Alessandra Levato has earned a $10,000 scholarship by winning the 2013-14 Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest.

Her oil painting, “To Be An American,” placed first among the more than 4,000 entries submitted in the nationwide contest, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars. The painting depicts a line of people being sworn in as new citizens of the United States, some of them clutching small American flags.

Alessandra said she “tried to capture the moment of the American Dream” with her composition.

“In thinking about how many different ethnic groups make up the citizens of the United States, I thought it would express patriotism by painting the exact moment when a person consciously makes the choice to become a citizen of America,” she said.

“A lot of people born in America take for granted all the freedoms they are given. I wanted to capture this ceremony because it is so important to the people who come here, and they appreciate all the freedoms that they would not have in the countries they come from.”

Alessandra qualified to compete nationally after winning a local contest in March sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary to Lititz Springs VFW Post 1463 in Lititz. She then went on win to the state competition.

“To Be An American” was one of 47 entries to make it to the national level of the contest. Her painting will be featured on the cover of the Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine and on the organization’s website. In addition, she and her father will be flown to St. Louis to attend the auxiliary’s national convention July 21, where she will receive her award.

Alessandra, who will be a senior in the fall, is the daughter of Larry and Lee Levato of Manor Township.

While at Penn Manor, she has received numerous art awards, including several Scholastic Art and Lancaster County Young Artist awards this past year.