Crescenta Valley High School senior Jennifer Bae won this year's congressional art competition hosted by Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who represents the 28th District.
The winners were announced during a ceremony earlier this month at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge.
Her acrylic painting titled "Have A Slice" will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year, along with winners from other congressional districts across the country. Bae said she will visit the Capitol to see her painting next month.
"It's surreal," she said. "I still can't believe it's being shown there."
Bae said she was surprised to win the competition because it's her third year participating. She thinks this year she had more luck because her painting was more personal — it's a self portrait of her as an 8-year-old eating a slice of cake.
"It's really reflecting on myself more because I'm very optimistic and positive," she said. "I'm glad my personality showed through, and I think that's why they picked it."
After graduating, Bae plans to attend the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena and study to become an animator.
Abrielle Marsden, a junior at Burbank High School, won second place for her acrylic painting titled "Perception" and Alejandra Santana, a senior at John Burroughs High School, won third place for her photograph called "Sunny Light Up."
Their artwork will be displayed in Schiff's Washington D.C. and Burbank offices, respectively.
Marsden said her painting was inspired by how society tells young people to view the world in a certain way.
"The idea that you're sort of taught to view the world in a certain way is something I've thought about a lot," she said. "I didn't think I'd win, but I think it's really amazing."
Marsden said she wants to be a visual-development artist for animated features.
Santana said her photograph of a light bulb and an egg was a last-minute assignment for her digital photography class.
"I had to merge two objects together, and I thought of putting an egg and a light bulb together," she said. "It worked out because they have similar shapes. I'm pretty proud of it."
Santana's artistic background is in drawing, but after taking a film photography class last year, she'll be exploring the possibility of a career in photojournalism.
She said it's a good feeling that she won third place, though she thinks Schiff should have had a chance to judge the pieces himself, so he could decide what art is displayed in his offices.
The People's Choice award went to Vilen Manukya, a junior at Village Christian School, for his graphite-and-acrylic piece titled "Path Behind the Glory."
This year's area congressional competition included 43 students representing 19 schools in the 28th District. Since 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated in the national competition.
The judges on this year's panel include David Warren, a former member of the Hollywood Arts Council's board of trustees, Patricia Perez, a multimedia artist at the Elysian Valley Arts Collective, and Kellye Nakahara Wallet, who is a watercolor artist and played Nurse Kellye in the TV series "M.A.S.H."
"Each year, it is an honor to see young artists from our community showcase their talent," Schiff said in a statement. "Every student involved in this competition deserves recognition, and I hope they will continue to enrich our community with their artwork."