U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Announces 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

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Scholars were nominated by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) and its core YoungArts program. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artistically talented graduating high school senior.

“Any student who is chosen as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts represent, strive for and achieve excellence in their academic studies, artistic field and must portray strong leadership in serving others” -James M. Dubin

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced the names of the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. These Scholars were nominated by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) and its core YoungArts program. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artistically talented graduating high school senior. The award is presented on behalf of the President of the United States, and selection is based upon academic, civic and artistic achievement. Each year, 141 U.S. Presidential Scholars are recognized, including up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the in Arts will perform and exhibit in Washington, DC in June.

“Any student who is chosen as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts has to represent, strive for and achieve excellence in their academic studies, artistic field and must portray strong leadership in serving others” says James M. Dubin, NFAA’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Our rigorous program allows us to find the best candidates each year, and I feel proud seeing our organization play such an essential part in recognizing and developing young artists.”

To be selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, candidates must participate in and receive a nomination from YoungArts, the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA). Each year, YoungArts receives up to 7,000 applications for its national program, and after a rigorous adjudication process, YoungArts nominates 60 finalists for further consideration to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars, whose members are Presidentially appointed, select up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, through its YoungArts program, serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

This year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts represent 13 states and eight artistic disciplines including Cinematic Arts, Dance, Jazz, Music, Theater, Voice, Visual Arts and Writing.

This year’s 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are:

Delali A. Ayivor, Interlochen, MI, Writing- Poetry, Interlochen Arts Academy
India N. Carney, Brooklyn, NY, Voice- Popular, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School
Isabela Dos Santos, Weston, FL, Cinematic Arts, Cypress Bay High School
Victoria N. Ford, Greenville, SC, Writing- Poetry, South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts & Humanities
Lee R. Heinemann, Kansas City, MO, Visual Arts, Pembroke High School
Amber L. Holloway, Tuscaloosa, AL, Writing-Creative Non-Fiction, Alabama School of Fine Arts
Kevin Hong, Needham, MA, Writing- Short Story, Walnut Hill School
Kevin Hu, Naperville, IL, Music- Violin, Naperville Central High School
Blake T. Krapels, Woodland Park, NJ, Dance- Choreography, Passaic Valley High School
Priscilla M. Lancaster, Chicago, IL, Visual Arts, Home Schooled
Ryan McCartan, Excelsior, MN, Theater- Spoken and Musical, Minnetonka High School
Daniel McGrew, Orange, CA, Voice- Tenor, Crystal Cathedral High School
Jessica C. Miller, Rock Hill, SC, Theater- Spoken, South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts & Humanities
Zachary M. Ostroff, Belvedere, CA, Jazz- Double Bass, Branson School
Colby A. Parker, Statesboro, GA, Music- Tuba, Statesboro High School
Maxwell P. Perkins, Wilmette, IL, Dance- Modern, New Trier Township High School
Tyler R. Rabinowitz, Wellington, FL, Cinematic Arts, Alexander W. Dreyfoos Junior School
Daniel F. Stanfill, Manhattan Beach, CA, Voice- Jazz, Mira Costa High School
Conrad Y. Tao, New York, NY, Music- Composition, Indiana University High School
Samuel M. Teeter, Topeka, KS, Writing- Short Story, Topeka High School

The 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts join an illustrious group which includes Tony Award nominated dancer and choreographer Desmond Richardson, American Ballet Theatre Executive Director Rachel Moore, novelist and National Book Award Finalist Allegra Goodman, Grammy Award nominated violin soloist Jennifer Koh, BRAVO’s Work of Art winner Abdi Farah, OBIE Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin and acclaimed visual artist Kevin Berlin.

The 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will be honored in Washington D.C. together with the rest of the 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars during National Recognition Weekend. The Scholars will travel to Washington, DC to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians and other accomplished individuals. To commemorate their achievement the Scholars are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion in a White House sponsored ceremony. The artists and writers will exhibit their works at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sunday, June 19, and perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 20.

Photos and bios are available upon request. Interviews can be facilitated.

About YoungArts:
Founded in 1981 and celebrating its 30th year of discovering excellence in the arts in 2011, YoungArts, the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA), is the signature national program that recognizes and supports America’s most talented 17-18 year olds in the visual, literary and performing arts. NFAA’s mission is to identify emerging artists and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development, and to raise the appreciation for, and support of, the arts in American society. The YoungArts program provides financial awards, master classes with world-renowned artists and a rich network of professional contacts and career development opportunities. NFAA partners with the U.S. Department of Education and Commission on Presidential Scholars honoring the nation’s most deserving high school seniors. NFAA is the sole nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, an honor given to just 20 seniors. .

YoungArts’ 16,000 alumni include Broadway actors, award-winning playwrights, published authors and numerous well-known visual artists and notable names and arts advocates like Vanessa Williams, Allegra Goodman, John Currin and Kerry Washington.

For more information about the YoungArts program, visit http://www.youngarts.org.

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