Rancho Santa Fe student takes first place in Congressional Art Competition


Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49) presented multiple youths in his district with different congressional awards for excelling in art and public service. The ceremony took place at his office at 1800 Thibodo Road in Vista.

Issa congratulated the district’s Congressional Art Competition winner, Alexander Nicita of Rancho Santa Fe, for his piece, “Salk,” combining photography and digital media. He also recognized the runner-up, Alexander Dingley of Encinitas.

The Congressional Art Competition is sponsored by the Congressional Institute, which encourages artistic talent in each congressional district. The winning entry is displayed for 11 months as part of an art installation in the U.S. Capitol Building, along with other winning submissions from around the country.

“Art is a compelling outlet that allows students to convey their perceptions of our world using various mediums including technology,” said Issa. “In Alexander’s photograph, he effectively shows the juxtaposition of a solitary runner against the backdrop of San Diego’s Salk Institute, much like the rare innovator and the vast regulatory climate they encounter these days. I encourage all students to follow Alexander’s example and use art as a form of storytelling.”

Issa also presented the Congressional Award to three youths who excelled in providing community service throughout California’s 49th Congressional district. This is the second year that Issa presented the award.

The Congressional Award is presented to individuals from ages 14 to 23 who register with the Congressional Award Foundation and then complete hours related to volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition or exploration. A gold medalist must complete 400 hours over 24 months, a silver medalist must complete 200 hours over 12 months, and a bronze medalist must complete 100 hours over seven months.

Local Congressional Award recipients were:

  • Bhaskar Dutt of Rancho Santa Fe, Gold Medalist
  • Alexander Nicita of Rancho Santa Fe, Bronze and Silver Medalist
  • Lauren Rennacker of San Diego, Bronze and Silver Medalist
  • Julie Ambo of Carlsbad, Bronze and Gold Medalist

Other area winners included:

  • Jackson Lanigan of San Juan Capistrano, Silver Medalist
  • Andrew Boyd of San Clemente, Bronze Medalist