Two Playa del Rey and Westchester students were the top-two winners in the 35th congressional district in the 2012 Congressional Art Competition.

De’Von Stubblefield, a senior at St. Bernard High School in Playa del Rey, took home the first place prize, and Kyle Moreno of Westchester, a senior at Loyola High School, received the contest’s second place prize.

They were among 31 students from seven high schools who were recently honored by 35th District Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Westchester) for submitting their work to this year’s competition. The students’ artworks were exhibited in the style of a major “art gallery opening” at the Hawthorne Memorial Center May 22.

“The quality of the art improves with each passing year,” said art curator and contest judge Rosie Hooks, executive director of the Watts Towers Art Center Campus Complex. “It was a very difficult choice to select the winners.”

As the first-place winner, Stubblefield’s pen and ink drawings titled “West Side Dancers” will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Moreno’s second place multi-media piece entitled “Overpass/Underpass” will be displayed in Waters’ Capitol Hill office for one year.

“We know with the serious budget cutbacks in our schools, it often falls to the parents and sometimes even to the teachers to purchase the supplies needed to teach, let alone to create art,” Waters said. “All of you involved in our young people’s lives are to be commended for doing whatever it takes to encourage them and nurture their talents, whatever they may be.”

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.

Southwest Airlines will be providing two complimentary plane tickets for the 35th District winner to travel to Washington D.C. for the official unveiling ceremony later this month at the U.S. Capitol.