A Wantagh High School student is one of 10 recipients nationwide of a youth award that recognizes efforts to promote art, with an understanding of cultural diversity.

Athena Yao, a senior, recently received the 2019 Youth Honor Award from Skipping Stones magazine, which included a profile of her in its autumn issue. In the piece, Yao discussed the search for identity in the midst of adolescence, particularly through the perspective of teenage girls from different cultural backgrounds.

For winning, she received five multicultural and/or nature books, a certificate and a subscription to the magazine.

"We're all constantly searching for happiness, a state of true fulfillment that can't be reached without first gaining a deep understanding of ourselves and our personal identities," Yao said in the story. "I tried to depict this through my art, exploring the concept of the human self as being a puzzle that is constantly influenced by the outside world."

Yao also was named a third-place winner in this year's Congressional Art Competition for her acrylic artwork titled "The Places I've Been." The piece is on display in the office of Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City).

Stepping Stones is a multicultural literary magazine for children ages 8-16. It publishes art and original writings in all languages, celebrates ecological and cultural diversity, and facilitates an exchange of ideas and experiences.

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