Former First Lady Columbia Bush Announces 2009 Arts for Life! Scholarship Winners

FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION News Release:

Tallahassee, FL – Former First Lady Columba Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced the 2009 Arts for Life! Scholarship Program award winners. To celebrate 10 years of Arts for Life! in Florida, 10 additional scholarships are being awarded to promising young artists, bringing the total number of recipients to 35 in 2009. Additionally, a new creative writing category was added to recognize Florida’s talented writers. Annually, the Arts for Life! program recognizes graduating high school seniors from across Florida for outstanding achievement in the arts. Each recipient receives a $1,000 cash scholarship toward their pursuit of the arts in higher education.

“In its first decade, Arts for Life! has helped hundreds of aspiring Florida artists and performers pursue their dreams,” said Mrs. Bush. “I am proud to recognize this year’s outstanding scholarship recipients for their achievement and tremendous creativity. The Foundation for Excellence in Education remains committed to fostering arts in our schools through the Arts for Life! Scholarship Program in support of the next generation of promising Florida artists.”

Columba Bush, Florida’s First Lady from 1999 to 2007, is a passionate advocate for the arts and arts education. In 1999, she established the Arts for Life! Scholarship Program to recognize the creativity and artistic talents of high school students throughout Florida.

In the last ten years, Arts for Life! has received thousands of applications from public, private and charter school students from across the state and recognized 252 talented artists in 29 counties throughout Florida. As of this year, $252,000 in cash scholarships has been awarded to 6 creative writers, 26 dancers, 30 actors and actresses, 66 musicians and 124 visual artists. Many of these students have gone on to attend prestigious colleges and universities around the country, including The Julliard School, New York University, Savannah College of Art and Design, The Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard, Yale and Howard Universities, The Florida State University and the Universities of Miami and Florida.

This year, nearly 500 outstanding high school seniors from public, private and charter schools competed for scholarships. In total, 35 award winners were chosen in the fields of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. Participating students were required to submit a sample of their work and an essay on how arts influenced their life and the role of the arts in their future. A committee comprised of respected experts in the five categories reviewed and scored each application to determine the scholarship recipients.

This year’s winning students and their families, teachers and school administrators will be recognized at an Arts for Life! luncheon hosted by Jeb and Columba Bush on June 26, 2009, at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Prior to the luncheon, students will have the opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop with a panel of respected experts in several art disciplines.

The 2009 Arts for Life! Scholarship recipients are:

Creative Writing

Danielle Boissonneault, Edgewood Junior/Senior High School, Brevard County
Haley Gentile, Cape Coral High School, Lee County
Victoria Green, Pompano Beach High School, Broward County
Devin Nunez, McArthur Senior High School, Broward County
Tiffanie Reynolds, Osceola County School for the Arts, Osceola County
Robert Tabone, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County

Dance

Lissa Smith, New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Ayla Weisz, New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County

Drama

Bryce Cutler, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Cornelius Davis, Coral Reef Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Tiffany Gray, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County
Khadijah Rolle, New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County

Music

Erik Alvar, Melbourne High School, Brevard County
Emily Charlson, Booker High School, Sarasota County
Quizi Chengshi, Eastside High School, Alachua County
Cherish Fuller, Northside Christian School, Pinellas County
Jennifer Levoy, St. Augustine High School, St. Johns County
Brandon Martell, Northside Christian School, Pinellas County
Daniella Rossbach, St. Petersburg High School, Pinellas County
Claire Wilkinson, West Orange High School, Orange County

Visual Arts

Priscilla Aleman, Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Nicole Dyer, Harrison School of the Arts, Polk County
Laura Garcia, South Miami Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Francisco Gabuardi, New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Hillary Gunder, Bishop Verot High School, Lee County
Karl Hadrika, Dr. Phillips High School, Orange County
Cosby Hayes, The Florida State University School, Leon County
Raquel Kidd, Coral Reef Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Chottip Nimla-or, New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Tess Olson, Pine View School, Sarasota County
Katherine Ordonez, New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Joy Peterson, H.B. Plant High School, Hillsborough County
Lindsay Rapp, Calvary Christian High School, Pinellas County
Pamela Saad, Ronald Reagan Doral Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Brandi Wyant, Lake Brantley High School, Seminole County

The Foundation for Excellence in Education is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable organization launched in 2007 by Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Our mission is to improve the quality of education in classrooms across Florida and the nation by sponsoring innovative programs based on high academic standards, accountability, school choice and quality teaching. For more information on the Arts for Life! scholarship program and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, please visit www.ExcelinEd.org.


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