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Smartphone photo inspires MHS Best of Show entry
MHS ARTS1-4-11-14-LT
Manteca senior Poonan Dehal looks over her piece she titled Selfie Era. The self portrait took first prize in the AP Studio Category during the Manteca High Day of the arts. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Poonan Dehal once got into trouble for taking a ‘selfie’ in class.

That’s when one uses a hand-held digital camera or, in this case, a cell phone, to take a self-portrait.

“I do a lot of ‘selfies,’” she admitted Thursday at the Manteca High’s Day of Arts at Winters Gymnasium.

Dehal’s Advanced Art teacher Matt McDonald remembered that moment. At the time, he was none too pleased.

Instead, the Manteca High senior became inspired by the moment, turning her ‘selfie’ into a class project. “This one spoke to me,” Dehal said.

The result of that was her acrylic painting on an 18- by- 24-inch canvas entitled “Selfie Era” was awarded with a Best in Show ribbon at the annual event. She also got Best in Show with another painting “Elephant Kid Love” that was featured in the gym lobby.

Altogether, Dehal had nine of her pieces entered in the art show. Her “Erica” painting – based on a sweet girl she knows who also optimistic view of life – took first-place honors.

Those three pieces will move on to the April 29 Manteca Unified ‘Best of the Best’ 2014 District Art Show & Sale.

This event will feature the top works by art students from Weston Ranch High, Lathrop High, Sierra High, East Union High, Calla High and Manteca High.

The district art show will be held on the first floor of the district office, 2271 W. Louise Ave., Manteca.

The MHS Day of Arts consisted of works by students in the Advanced Arts, Intro Arts, drafting and photography / video photography.

McDonald and Mindie Dolson, who teaches intro Art, were the judges.

“We wanted as many of our kids to be recognized. But we also try to think best stuff,” said McDonald.

Sam Dolson, who retired not too long ago, was brought back at the beginning of the year to handle the drafting class.

First-year teacher Carol Creighton displayed the works of her students from her photography and digital photography classes.

As for Dehal, she uses art classes as an outlet from her studies.

Dehal, who has a 4.7 grade point average, is in the running for class valedictorian. She plans to attend either UC Berkeley or UC Davis, majoring in Bio Medicine Engineering,

“I would love to do a double major,” said Dehal, who is tinkering with the idea of adding art to her college plans.

In fact, she credits art for making her a “well-rounded person.”