2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts Nominees Announced

2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts Nominees Announced

The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) today announced the nominees for the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.

YoungArts is the sole nominating agency for this high honor and the 60 candidates, representing 21 states, the District of Columbia and 9 artistic disciplines, are all YoungArts Winners. The students have been nominated to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program for their artistic achievement on the heels of the organization's annual signature program, National YoungArts Week, which concluded in Miami on January 15.

The 60 candidates will be reviewed by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, which will ultimately select 20 high school seniors to be recognized as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts for their academic and artistic accomplishments, leadership responsibilities, community service and outreach initiatives, and overall creativity.

In June, the 20 Arts Scholars will join the other 141 U.S. Presidential Scholars from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the National Recognition Program. During the program, all Scholars receive a Presidential Medallion presented on behalf of the President of the United States and participate in several recognition activities while in Washington, D.C. The 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will present their work at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a special exhibition and performance.

"YoungArts is proud to be the nominating agency for this high honor and congratulates all of this year's nominees, their teachers and their parents," said Carolina García Jayaram, YoungArts President and CEO. "Each year, we are amazed by the artistry of the students who come through our program, but this year raised the bar - the sheer talent and tenacity of the artists coming from all walks of life and every corner of the country was astounding, and we celebrate their work and look forward to what they will do next."

The 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts nominees are:

Name

School City, State

School

YoungArts Winner Year and Discipline

Grace Abbott

Minneapolis, MN

Southwest High School

2017, Visual Arts

Olivia Alger

Interlochen, MI

Interlochen Arts Academy

2016, Writing

John Andreas

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles County High School For Arts

2017, Cinematic Arts

Todd Baker

Dallas, TX

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

2016, Dance

Shreya Bhadriraju

Missouri City, TX

Elkins High School

2017, Voice

Blaire Bilton

Delray Beach, FL

American Heritage-Boca/Delray

2017, Theater

Jarren Blair

Hendersonville, TN

Beech High School

2017, Voice

Alexa Bleasdale-Curnutte

Interlochen, MI

Interlochen Arts Academy

2017, Writing

Catherine Camargo

Miami, FL

New World School Of The Arts

2017, Visual Arts

Alberto Checa

Miami, FL

New World School Of The Arts

2017, Visual Arts

Carissa Chen

Exeter, NH

Phillips Exeter Academy

2015, Writing

Karisa Chiu

Palatine, IL

Homeschool

2017, Classical Music

Julia Cooper

Midland, PA

Lincoln Park Performing Arts

2017, Theater

David Correa

Miami, FL

New World School Of The Arts

2017, Visual Arts

Elle Cox

Houston, TX

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

2017, Visual Arts

Nicholas Cummings

Dallas, TX

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

2017, Dance

Adriana De La Torre

Miami, FL

New World School Of The Arts

2017, Visual Arts

Matteo Debole

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles County High School For Arts

2017, Voice

Micaela Diamond

New York, NY

Fiorello H. Laguardia High School Of Music & Art and Performing Arts

2017, Theater

Katherine Du

Greenwich, CT

Greenwich Academy

2017, Writing

Kali Duffy

Miami, FL

New World School Of The Arts

2017, Photography

Salvador Flores

Galena Park, TX

Galena Park High School

2017, Classical Music

Samuel Gee

Greenville, SC

South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities

2017, Writing

Jeremy Gill

Interlochen, MI

Interlochen Arts Academy

2017, Theater

Jayden Gillespie

San Diego, CA

Canyon Crest Academy

2017, Cinematic Arts

Stephanie Godsave

Allen, TX

Allen High School

2017, Dance

Harry Goldstein

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles County High School For Arts

2017, Cinematic Arts

Ricky Goodwyn, Jr.

Windsor, VA

Windsor High School

2017, Voice

Aaron Greenberg

New York, NY

Fiorello H. Laguardia High School Of Music & Art and Performing Arts

2017, Theater

Andrea Guo

Chicago, IL

Homeschool

2017, Classical Music

Nicole Ishimaru

Bloomington, IN

Indiana University High School Online

2015, Dance

Korri Lampedusa

Miami, FL

Design & Architecture Senior High

2017, Design Arts

Jamiya Leach

Greenville, SC

South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities

2017, Writing

Derek Louie

New York, NY

Professional Children's School

2016, Classical Music

Kaylin Maggard

Columbia, MO

Columbia-Rock Bridge Senior High School

2017, Dance

Jessica McCallum

Central, SC

D. W. Daniel High School

2017, Cinematic Arts

Andrea Medina

Richmond, VA

Maggie L Walker Governors School

2017, Visual Arts

Chester Milton

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles County High School For Arts

2016, Cinematic Arts

Juliana Missano

Bloomsburg, PA

Keystone National High School

2017, Dance

Lumia Nocito

New York, NY

Dalton School

2016, Photography

Evren Ozel

Natick, MA

Walnut Hill School For The Arts

2016, Classical Music

Mia Pak

Salinas, CA

North Monterey County Center For Independent Study

2016, Theater

Elizabeth Pesavento

Interlochen, MI

Interlochen Arts Academy

2016, Classical Music

Isabella Pete

North Canton, OH

Hoover High School

2017, Dance

Joshua Reinier

San Mateo, CA

The Nueva Upper School

2015, Voice

Kele Roberson

Austin, TX

The Austin School For The Performing and Visual Arts

2017, Dance

Hunter Schafer

Winston Salem, NC

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

2017, Design Arts

Aidan Schaffert

St. Petersburg, FL

Gibbs Senior High School

2017, Visual Arts

Samuel Siegel

San Francisco, CA

Independence High School

2016, Voice

Amir Siraj

Brookline, MA

Brookline High School

2017, Classical Music

Lianah Sta. Ana

Farmingdale, NJ

Howell High School

2016, Theater

Meilan Steimle

San Jose, CA

Harker School

2017, Writing

Kathryn Stenberg

West Palm Beach, FL

Alexander W. Dreyfoos Junior School

2017, Visual Arts

Clayton Stephenson

New York, NY

Dalton School

2017, Classical Music

Vivian Valls

Miami, FL

Miami Arts Charter School

2017, Voice

Regina Vestuti

Providence, RI

Classical High School

2016, Design Arts

Benjamin Wenzelberg

Tenafly, NJ

Tenafly High School

2017, Voice

Wade Winslow

Los Angeles, CA

Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts

2016, Visual Arts

Meghan Wright

Rockville, MD

Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School

2017, Theater

Elliot Wuu

San Jose, CA

Valley Christian High School

2017, Classical Music

The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts nominees are actors, dancers, singers, classical musicians, photographers, filmmakers, visual artists, designers and writers. Once selected, the 2017 awardees will join an illustrious group of YoungArts and U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts alumni, including Tony Award-nominated performer and choreographer Desmond Richardson; Los Angeles Music Center President Rachel S. Moore; novelist and National Book Award Finalist Allegra Goodman; Grammy Award-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh; BRAVO's "Work of Art" winner Abdi Farah; OBIE Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin; and RCA Records award-winning singer/songwriter and Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Young.

The 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and details regarding the National Recognition Program and public festivities will be announced in the coming months. For additional information, visit www.ed.gov/psp.

BECOMING A U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR IN THE ARTS

The first step to becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts is to apply to the National YoungArts Foundation, which is the nominating agency for this honor. To be eligible for the YoungArts program, applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 18 or in high school grades 10-12. To be further considered for a nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar, applicants must be high school seniors and meet all of the U.S. Presidential Scholars requirements.

YoungArts Winners demonstrating excellence in the visual, literary, performing or design arts are selected annually through a blind adjudication process. This year, YoungArtsreceived a record number of applications, and from this pool, 691 YoungArts Winners were selected. In January, approximately 160 Finalists from across the nation were invited to National YoungArts Week in Miami, where they participated in a week of intensive master classes and workshops with internationally renowned artists, and shared their work through performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings that were open to the public.

During National YoungArts Week, eligible participants are further evaluated, award levels are determined, and nominations are made for that year's U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates. After a rigorous selection process, YoungArts nominates 60 candidates for an invitation to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year.

ABOUT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS

In 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson to recognize and honor the nation's top graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Scholars are selected annually by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, based on academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and writing ability. This year, more than 5,000 candidates qualified for the 2017 program determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation.

Since its inception, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,000 of the nation's high-performing students. During the National Recognition Program, scholars are flown to D.C. to receive a Presidential Medallion, which is given to honorees during the annual ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The 161 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION

The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. Through a wide range of annual programs, regular performances, and partnerships with some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, YoungArts aspires to create a strong community of alumni and a platform for a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.

YoungArts' signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15 - 18 or in grades 10 - 12 from across the United States. Selected through a blind adjudication process, YoungArts Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors-such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rebecca Walker, Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Carrie Mae Weems-and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and New World Center (Miami). Additionally, YoungArts Winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.

YoungArts Winners become part of a thousands-strong alumni network of artists, which offers them additional professional opportunities throughout their careers. YoungArtsalumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Viola Davis, Anna Gunn, Zuzanna Szadkowski and Kerry Washington; Broadway stars Raúl Esparza, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells and Tony Yazbeck; recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill and Chris Young; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, Jennifer Koh and Elizabeth Roe; choreographers Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson; visual artists Daniel Arsham and Hernan Bas; internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush.

For more information, visit youngarts.org, facebook.com/YoungArtsFoundation or
twitter.com/YoungArts. To watch a brief video about YoungArts, click here.

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