The winning Olympics of the Visual Arts 2021 competition in the fashion category, HACD’s team Glow’n Girls, from left, Shayna Malsan, Chana Wrzesinski, and Hannah Berkun show their winning entry.

The Hebrew Academy of the Capital District (HACD) recently received top honors in a statewide competition.

The eighth grade HACD team of Chana Wrzesinski, Shayna Malsan and Hannah Berkun, who recently graduated from the academy, won first place in the 2021 Olympics of the Visual Arts (OVA), a competition sponsored by the New York State Art Teachers Association. With categories ranging from photography and architecture to illustration and fashion design, students from across the state were presented with a series of design problems. They were tasked with finding creative solutions through collaboration, brainstorming, research and journaling before presenting a final project for a team of judges. Usually held at the Saratoga Springs City Center, this year’s competition was revised due to COVID 19 restrictions. Entries were submitted online for review, and the awards ceremony was live-streamed at a later date.

The HACD team spent six months working on a fashion design project. The challenge was to create an entire outfit based on projected fashion trends for 2021 — including neon colors, animal prints, feathers, fringe and tie-dye. The fashion category had an additional stipulation: the design creation had to be constructed entirely from paper, and the final product was to be worn by a teammate and modeled for the judges.

The winning team — Glow’n Girlswas advised by HACD art teacher Amy Rosenstrauch. The team won first place for their 1960s inspired mini-skirt with a color-block top accented with a zebra print, along with a matching paper purse.

The entire design popped with neon green, black and white tie-dye — and as a finishing touch, the students added a glow-in-the-dark element. Their submission included a video of the creation being modeled complete with a voiceover detailing their design choices and methodology, in addition to an online journal tracking their progress throughout the entire design process.

The awards ceremony can be viewed at