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SMJUHSD student's photograph makes it to the US Capitol back button

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The image of a boarded-up Santa Barbara County diner has made it to the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. thanks to 2013 Ernest Righetti High School graduate Christa Weston.
Weston will travel to a reception for winning California's 24th District in the U.S.

Congressional Arts Competition on June 26. Weston's photograph captured a former diner that consists of two old train cars just off Highway 101 and north of Buellton.

Weston, who will attend college in Long Beach next fall, believes photography is special because everyone can relate to a photograph and it's one of the best storytelling mediums in art.

"Art is my life,'' said Weston, adding she wants to be a museum curator. “I love how art is so much more than aesthetics; it's about an artist having a conversation with the viewer through their work. I love it when my artwork can make a stranger feel or think something, even if what they are thinking wasn't my intention.''

Weston began taking art classes at ERHS when she was a freshman, but started general art classes in elementary school.

Teacher Autumn Jennings, of the visual and performing arts department, said Weston has excelled from the start and used the Advanced Placement (AP) Studio class to print her photos on less typical materials such as fabrics and other experimental techniques including photo emulsions, paint transfers and cyanotypes.

"It's clear that this has really elevated her photography to a more artistic and less commercial level and given her work new depth,'' Jennings said. "I consider her work to be of professional quality, the highest compliment that can be given to a 17-year-old artist. She is exceptional.''

Weston's photograph will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol for one year.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.