Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: Silvana Montalvo


Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: Silvana Montalvo

January 29, 2021

Over the summer, Warwick Valley High School junior Silvana Montalvo was on the phone with her new guidance counselor. Silvana had just moved into the district and needed to set up her school schedule. As the counselor was reading off a list of courses, Silvana had her stop at the photography classes.

“When she said ‘photography,’ I thought that sounds like an interesting thing to do,” Silvana said. “I was already into taking pictures, although not as big as I’m into it now, so I decided to take the photography classes.”

Silvana is taking both digital photography and black and white photography. She found the classes difficult at first. Now she’s glad to be taking the classes and plans on sticking with photography.

“When I first started this class, I kind of stood on the side and didn’t know what I was doing,” Silvana said. “Then after my first project, I got a little more comfortable with it. Then I was able to go out and just shoot pictures and know what I was doing.”

Silvana sometimes takes photos with her mom’s digital camera, but she prefers to use her phone for one reason: she always has it with her.

“I take my phone everywhere, so I use that a lot more,” Silvana said. “Most of the time if I’m in the car or I’m out and I see something, I just take a picture. I  just find things that I like. I can be anywhere and I can make a good photo.”

Superintendent's Artist of the Week Silvana Montalvo with two of her photographs on Jan. 25, 2021.

“Silvana does some outstanding work,” said her photography teacher Shari Blauner. “She is always ready to lend a hand, and promptly gets started on any given assignment. She has an excellent eye for detail and photographic composition. She eagerly shares her images with me as well as with her friends and has been asked by them to take their portraits time and again. Her artistic eye is evident in all of her photos.”

In class, Silvana uses Adobe Photoshop to edit her images. Photoshop is a very complex program, but she picked it up quickly. In fact, when a student transferred into the class mid-year, Silvana was able to teach him the program. Friends also often ask her to edit photos. She recently added angel wings and a halo to a photograph of a friend’s grandmother.

While Silvana does plan to continue with her personal photography, her career goal is to become a speech pathologist so she can help children communicate. Just before moving to Warwick, Silvana started volunteering at a school for early learning.

“There were kids who were non-verbal or who had autism, Silvana said. “I was able to work with them and I came to love it. I thought that if I wanted to help someone, this would be where I could help.”

To increase her communication skills, Silvana has started taking a Spanish course on her own and is teaching herself American Sign Language from a book.

In addition to photography, Silvana enjoys dancing at the Warwick Performing Art Center. One of her favorite recent photographs is a self-portrait wearing ballet shoes. She’s also on the cheerleading team and earned Cum Laude honors for the first marking period.

See more of Silvana’s photographs in the slideshow below:

  • Wildflower




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