Other honors for Class of 2016 include National Youth Orchestra-USA, Young Arts Merit Award, and four top awards by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) graduated its 50th high school class on Saturday. Among those who received diplomas are a National Merit Scholarship winner, a Morehead-Cain Scholar, a National Young Arts Merit Award winner and a participant in the National Youth Orchestra, in addition to several winners in the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
“They are a very talented class, both artistically and academically,” said Elaine Pruitt, interim headmaster and dean of the High School Academic Program. “The Class of 2016 proves that talent, discipline and hard work are the recipe for success. The faculty and I are very proud and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for these bright young stars.”
An estimated 124 students in the schools of Dance, Drama, and Music and in the School of Design and Production’s Visual Arts Program graduated during the ceremony which was held in the Stevens Center. The school’s first graduating class in 1966 included 47 high school seniors, some of whom attended Saturday’s festivities.
Award winners in the Class of 2016 include:
Will Cannon, a student in the School of Drama, will receive a $2500 National Merit Scholarship. He is from Apex, N.C. About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. A pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors nationwide, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. To become finalists, the semifinalists and their schools must submit applications that detail their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Cannon was one of four UNCSA students who were finalists for National Merit Scholarships. Additional finalists are pianist Peter Smith from Chapel Hill; Bevan Therien from Raleigh, a student in the School of Drama; and dancer Sarah Yang from Oak Ridge, N.C.
Cellist Daniel Malawsky of Chapel Hill is a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The first merit scholarship program in the country, the Morehead-Cain Scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC-Chapel Hill. Malawsky is one of 67 high school seniors chosen nationwide, including 35 from North Carolina.
Emilia Sharpe, a violinist from Winston-Salem, will participate in the National Youth Orchestra-USA this summer, along with her sister Ella Sharpe, a rising junior who studies double bass at UNCSA. They are the daughters of UNCSA School of Music faculty member Paul Sharpe. Created by Carnegie Hall in 2013, National Youth Orchestra-USA covers expenses for musicians selected through nationwide auditions to perform at Carnegie Hall and then tour Europe, performing at prestigious venues including Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Tivoli Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark; Smetana Hall in Prague, Czech Republic; and Merlioz Hall in Montpellier, France.
Garret McNally, a ballet student from Winston-Salem, received a Merit Award from the National Young Arts Foundation. YoungArts is an application-based award for emerging artists in cinema, dance, design, music, photography, theatre, visual arts, voice and writing. Students ages 15 to 18 are recognized with merit and honorable mention awards, and as Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Approximately 12,000 student nationwide apply for the honors.
As announced in January, Sadie Cook, a Visual Arts student from Chapel Hill, won four top honors in the Scholastic Art and Writing competition, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program for visual artists and writers. In addition to three of the region’s five American Vision Awards, she won a Best Portfolio Award, 14 gold keys, a silver key and two honorable mentions. Her work will be exhibited at Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York in June, with an awards reception at Carnegie Hall.
Nine additional seniors in the Visual Arts Program were recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing awards. They are Bella Carlos of Raleigh; Alexandria Chapman from Pineola, N.C.; Kayleigh Efird from Troutman, N.C.; Mirjam Mueller from Asheville, N.C.; Catherine Pavell from Morrisville, N.C.; Emma Sarver from Asheville; Grace Stanholtz from North Topsail Beach, N.C.; Skyla Ward from Marshall, N.C.; and Myah Wyse from Waxhaw, N.C.
The speaker for UNCSA High School Commencement was internationally known choreographer and dancer Helen Pickett.