Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Mission Model Contest


Matt “Sky Eagle Who Sings With His Heart” Lovio, a member of the Gabrieleno Tongva tribe played one of his native songs “Spirit of the Ocean” to the audience at the San Gabriel Mission’s Annual Model Contest held in the gardens on April 9.

He advised the students and their families that 200 years ago his ancestors helped to build this mission. He was dressed in native regalia or Indian clothing. He was available to answer questions from the audience.

Chuck Lyons from the Mission Gift Shop welcomed everyone to this very special event.  He spoke about all the prizes that any of the 30 participants could receive and the raffle that would be inflatable water slide held for gifts from the shop. He said that we have it nice today compared to the Tongva tribe years ago. He thanked the students for their efforts and great work on the missions.



Andy “Guiding Young Cloud” Morales, son of the Chief, explained that he teaches the Tongva history and culture to the young through songs, dances and stories. He told a story about the “First Surfer” when three fishermen were caught in a storm off the shores of Long Beach. The children loved the story. He performed the “Crane Dance” to the delight of the audience. He played an Elderberry flute as he danced just like the bird does in the wild. Matt Lovio accompanied him on his flute.


They both sang and danced the “Bird Dance” to honor all of the birds as they played their gourd rattles that were decorated with totems and designs as they moved their arms like wings. The audience was delighted meet real Native Americans.

Children in the fourth grade study California history that includes the history of all of the missions. The children write reports on their favorite missions and some of them build models.

All 30 models entered into this year’s contest were done in great detail. The children included animals, crops, trees, graveyards, Indians, Missionaries, tanneries, grape vines and more as captured by their imaginations.


The Overall Champion was Mia Andrews.


Any Age Group winner was Lexi Andrews, her sister.




The Group winner who created their missions together were:  Ricardo Hernandez and his sister, Monica Hernandez, Zoe Castro, Vanessa Nunez, Alexandra Montoya and Thomas Chau, Alexis Chin, Amanda Melendez, Cameron Cornelio and Vincent Lam.



The Director’s Award winners: Adrian De La Torre and Romero Hernandez.




Fourth Grade winners:  Nicholas Ibarra, Lorenzo De La Torre and Aaron Rodriguez.

The contest is open to all ages who want to create their favorite California mission. It was a shame that more local students from San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Alhambra and Rosemead didn’t enter the contest.

Nativity Elementary School from El Monte and Oneonta Montessori School from Alhambra won supplies from the gift shop for their students who participated in the event.

Mr. Lyons thanked all of the students and their families for joining us today. He also thanked Crystal Orosco, Joes Castillo and Joey Castillo for their participation as judges.

Today was an educational experience for the children.

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