Long Island Scholar Artists 2015/16 winners

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The goal of the Scholar-Artist program is to honor exceptionally accomplished high school seniors September to June. Selections are made, each spring, from a pool of Long Island students. From these nominees, one monthly award winner from Nassau and one from Suffolk is chosen.

Parris Garant

Parris Garant is a multi-instrumental musician and vocalist

Parris Garant is a multi-instrumental musician and vocalist at Port Jefferson's Earl L. Vandermeulen High School who has distinguished herself in the arts, athletics and in academics. Her vocal accomplishments include earning a near perfect score for Vocal Solo Soprano in the New York State School Music Association auditions and receiving the President's Education Award for Academic Excellence in 2012.

In addition to her love of the arts,

In addition to her love of the arts, Parris is an avid cross country runner and has been recognized as a Varsity Scholar Athlete in both Girls Cross Country and Girls Track. She is a member of The National Association for Music Education Tri-M Music Honor Society and National Honor Society. Parris also participates in the school chamber choir, the Art & Photography club, and the Interact club. When she is not singing you are likely to find Parris volunteering at a local animal shelter or working with children. After high school she plans to study music business with a minor in music.

Carla Perez

With her work hanging in Washington D.C., in

With her work hanging in Washington D.C., in the halls of Congress, Carla Perez, from Valley Stream North High school is already being recognized as a gifted and creative art student. Closer to home her artistic talents are relied upon throughout the school. Perez is an invaluable member of the art club, oversees set design for the theater club and handles all artistic aspects of the senior council such as homecoming decorations, banners and floats.

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The work of Carla Perez

Outside of school, Carla volunteers at a non-profit

Outside of school, Carla volunteers at a non-profit art studio called Creative Space for Kids where she helps children develop their own techniques and understanding that go hand-in-hand with creating art. Additionally, her work has received first place honors in the 4th district of the Congressional Art Competition, and with an Achievement Award as part of the 2009 Nassau All-County Art Exhibition. Carla plans to continue her art education into her college years.

Gabriella Carrucci, Scholar Artist

Taking on a wide variety of roles that

Taking on a wide variety of roles that include; Inga in Young Frankenstein, Philia in Forum, and Claudius in Hamlet, Gabriella Carucci has truly left a mark on the stage of Smithtown High School. When she is not on stage acting, Gabriella can be found performing in both Chamber Choir and Jazz Choir. Her musical abilities have been recognized with numerous honors having been selected to the Suffolk County Music Educator's Association's Choir, the All-State's Women's Choir and All-County's Women's Choir. In addition to her love for the arts, she is the Vice President and Treasurer of the Thespian Honor Society, a member of the Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, and participates in Smithtown High School?s Leadership Program. She plans to continue her theatrical studies through her college years with hopes of one day making it to Broadway.

Gabriella Carrucci

Gabriella's voice has garnered her much attention, as

Gabriella's voice has garnered her much attention, as well, with selection in the Suffolk County Music Educator's Association's Choir and membership in the All-State's Women's Choir and All-County's Women's Choir. She plans to continue her theatrical studies through her college years with hopes of making it to Broadway.

Erin O'Kelly, Long Island Scholar Artist

Erin O'Kelly, a senior studying at The Wheatley

Erin O'Kelly, a senior studying at The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, has a true desire to push her artistic abilities in several areas of art, including drawing, painting and photography. Erin's accolades include a piece that was selected by the Huntington Arts Council in 2014 for its Nightmare on Main Street juried show. She also received Honorable Mention in the Digital Arts category of the Cleveland Institute of Art 2D3D Contest this year, as well as an Excellence in Photography in 2014. .

The work of Erin O'Kelly, Long Island Scholar Artist

Erin's work has been displayed in the New

Erin's work has been displayed in the New York State Art Teachers Association Legislative Student Art Exhibit and in the Long Island Art Teachers Association (Nassau) Art in Heart Exhibition. She is enthusiastic and accepts advice and critiques with an open mind. Scholastically, she has been a member of her school's book club and participated as an art club officer. Erin plans to pursue a BFA in Communications Design.

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Tiffany Canner - Long Island Scholar Artist

Long Island High School for the Arts, Tiffany

Long Island High School for the Arts, Tiffany Canner, who also attends Long Beach High School, is making her mark through dance and musical theatre. A gifted dancer, Tiffany has already received a full scholarship to the Janice Sherlene Summer Intensive Dance class and a full scholarship to the Adelphi Pre-College Summer/Fall Intensive. She has also appeared on-stage in Long Beach High School's Musical Theater Productions of Footloose, Hairspray, and Shrek, The Musical. Of course her stage work goes far beyond her school with performances at the Long Island High School for the Arts Tilles Center Modern Dance Performance and the LIHSA Crest Hollow Country Club Jazz/Tap Dance Performance, the NYU Skirball Rockettes Dance Summer Intensive Performance, Chaminade High School's Production of "Cracked" and she has appeared with the LaGuardia Theater Complexions Contemporary Ballet Dance Summer Intensive Performance.

Tiffany Canner, Long Island Scholar Artist

With an eye towards making Dance her life's

With an eye towards making Dance her life's focus, Tiffany plans to study commercial dance and dance therapy after high school. Looking ahead, she has her eye on Broadway with an eventual goal of opening her own dance studio to pass on her love of the art.

Erin Lyons, Long Island Scholar Artist

Kellenberg High School's Erin Lyons is a gifted

Kellenberg High School's Erin Lyons is a gifted and driven violinist. Even before her high school years are complete she has already performed with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, the Hofstra University Symphony Orchestra, the Kellenberg Gregorian Consortium and in the LIU Post Summer Chamber Music Festival. Taking her craft beyond violin, she has also served as Concertmistress for the Kellenberg Phoenix Chamber Ensemble.

Erin Lyons, Long Island Scholar Artist on-stage

When not working with music she may be

When not working with music she may be found participating in any number of school clubs including the Science Club, Spanish Club and the American Sign Language Club. Her extra-curricular aspirations have not stopped there as she devotes time to the Catholic League, S.A.L.T. (Service Allegiance Leadership Teamwork) a student service organization and S.M.A.R.T. (St. Martins After-school Recreation and Tutoring). She is also a Eucharistic Minister and serves the Eucharist in her school during masses. Erin also works with C.R.O.S.S. (Christians Reaching Out Spreading Spirituality). While placing on the Honor Roll for all 4 years, Erin is a member of National Honor Society and plans to continue her music studies into college

Long Island Scholar Artist, Elise Weber

Seaford High School's Elise Weber is an aspiring

Seaford High School's Elise Weber is an aspiring artist and actor. She has been recognized for her craft with awards of All-County Visual Artist and Excellence in Academic Achievement in the Visual Arts. She is a member of the All-County Art Exhibit, the District Art Exhibit and the National Honor Society Art Exhibit. Never one to confine herself, Elise has branched out into the community working to create art for the public library and helping with the design of her school's Homecoming. She has taken her love for the arts even further by joining a non-profit dance company that performs at children's hospitals, nursing homes, and community events as well as working in musical theatre. One day she hopes to have a career teaching art at the secondary level. She plans to start by pursuing her post-high school plans in the field of Art Education and minoring in Musical Theater or dance

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Alexa Joseph, Long Island Scholar Artist

Alexa Joseph, of Hauppauge High School, has been

Alexa Joseph, of Hauppauge High School, has been involved with theater since the age of nine. Finding her passion for the theater at such a young age has seen her talents grow through the years. Recently, she has been recognized with the 2014 National Youth Arts Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her in Urinetown. Other awards include the 2015 National Youth Arts Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role in Smile and the 2015 Islip Arts Council Teeny Award for her role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Alexa Joseph, Long Island Scholar Artist on-stage

Outside of her efforts within the theatre, Alexa

Outside of her efforts within the theatre, Alexa is a member of the National Honor Society, the Vice President of her Drama Club, and is a section leader for her high school's Chamber Choir. Looking beyond her school, Alexa recently traveled to Disney World to perform with Kidz Theater. She plans to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree for Musical Theatre.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Julia Sileo

When Wantagh High School's Julia Sileo received her

When Wantagh High School's Julia Sileo received her first camera at ten-years-old, she had no idea that gift would bring the rest of her world into focus. Now a senior in high school, Julia has proven herself to be a gifted and unique photographer. She has garnered accolades as a finalist in Photographer's Forum magazine annual International College and High School Photography Contest, and has been featured in the All County Art Exhibit. Her work has also been on display in Wantagh High School's Art Festival.

"Little Girl, Big World" a photograph by Long Island Scholar Artist, Julia Sileo

Julia's talents extend beyond photography as well. She

Julia's talents extend beyond photography as well. She has contributed to the Drama Club and the Model Congress, is a member of the Mathletes, the National Science Society, Foreign Language Society and National Honor Society. She also co-founded and is president of her school's American Sign Language Club, striving to find new ways of communicating with her fellow classmates. Julia plans to study pre-med in college with a minor in photography and Italian.

Melanie Olinsky, Scholar Artist

Melanie Olinsky has been dancing since she was

Melanie Olinsky has been dancing since she was two years old. The Walt Whitman High School student continues to frame her life within the world of dance and performance, immersing herself in the graceful movements of her art. For the last five years, Melanie has been attending Art in Motion Dance Studio where she is a member of their Competition Dance Team. She has performed solos in Contemporary, Lyrical and Jazz and has consistently placed in the top ten in the overalls for her age group. In the dance program at Walt Whitman since her freshman year, Melanie was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts as a junior. Last year, Melanie participated in the school's Got Talent Show and took top prize.

Melanie Olinsky, on-stage

Melanie attended the Rockettes Summer Intensive twice and

Melanie attended the Rockettes Summer Intensive twice and participated in their final performance at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Her talents earned her a fifty percent scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Melanie also attended Joffrey West Los Angeles. Melanie, a high honors student, is a member of the National Honor Society and the World Language Honor Society. She plans to study musical theatre in college and has hopes of one day performing on Broadway.

Andreas Petrides-Scholar Artist

Garden City High School's Andreas Petrides has had

Garden City High School's Andreas Petrides has had a passion for music since childhood. Working tirelessly on his craft he has represented his school in the All-State Symphony Orchestra, in Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Festival, and in the Long Island String Festival both in 2013 and 2014. Andreas is a member of the school's orchestra, chamber orchestra, pit orchestra, and jazz ensemble. A well-rounded student, Andreas has also been Vice President of the Garden City High School chapter of the Red Cross, co-captain of the math team, and a member of the Science Olympiad Team.

Andreas Petrides - Scholar Artist, in performance

Andreas other honors include being a member of

Andreas other honors include being a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, the National Honor Society, and being chosen as ?Musician of the Year? by the Music Academy of Garden City. After high school Andreas plans to pursue a degree in engineering and a minor in music.

Larry Saperstein, Long Island Scholar Artist

Expressing himself through performance has been a defining

Expressing himself through performance has been a defining point in Larry Saperstein's educational years. The Islip High School senior has made his mark both in school and outside of school, appearing on-stage at the Long Island Regional Theatre, multiple performances at Northport's John W. Engeman Theater and at the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale. Larry has also seen his star shine on the small screen. With appearances in the ABC movie, "Fan Girl" and in television commercials including promoting Epiduo, Goldfish Puffs and American Express, his career has begun before his high school years have ended.

Larry Saperstein, Long Island Scholar Artist in full stage makeup

Making sure his educational involvement is not neglected,

Making sure his educational involvement is not neglected, Larry has been a member of the Tri-M Honor Society, the Foreign Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society, as well as the his school's Instrumental Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the school's Theatre Arts Club. After high school, Larry plans to pursue a career in the arts, whether it be filmmaking, technical design, music, theater performance, or education.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Olivia Castagna

Oceanside High School’s Olivia Castagna sees the world

Oceanside High School’s Olivia Castagna sees the world through the lens of her camera. A member of the National Honor Society, she is known as an extremely hard-working, intelligent and talented, young lady. Olivia is no stranger to recognition for her work taking two second place awards at the Photographic Federation of Long Island Youth Showcase, Honorable Mention in the Scholastic Arts Awards, a Silver Award for Outstanding Arts Accomplishments, and multiple Most Outstanding Student awards.

The work of photographer, Olivia Castagna

Her work has graced the galleries of the

Her work has graced the galleries of the Long Island Media Arts Show, the Oceanside Arts Festival and the Photographic Federation of Long Island Youth Showcase. In college, Olivia plans to major in chemistry and minor in photography with plans to pursue a career in either engineering or in the medical field.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Meena Natarajan

Floral Park High School's Meena Natarajan finds her

Floral Park High School's Meena Natarajan finds her voice on canvas. A visual artist, her talent has been honored throughout her community. If you have attended the high school's Spring Arts Festival Group Exhibit, the Advanced Visions Exhibition at CW Post or the Nassau Community College Art and Science Exhibit, you have probably seen her work. No stranger to recognition, Meena's artwork has received Outstanding Achievement in Drawing and Painting, as well as AP Drawing from her teachers. Her work has also garnered praise through the Nassau Community College Art Competition and the Advanced Visions 11: High School Artists of Excellence competition.

The work of Long Island Scholar Artist, Meena Natarajan

Always looking to challenge herself, Meena has contributed

Always looking to challenge herself, Meena has contributed to student and community life through her participation in the Yearbook Club, the Technology Club, the Retail Club and the BuildOn community service initiative.

The work of Long Island Scholar Artist Meena Natarajan

An excellent student, Meena is a member of

An excellent student, Meena is a member of both the National Honor Society and the Foreign Language Honor Society. She hopes to focus her post-high school studies toward becoming a doctor.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Hayley Herzog

Hayley Herzog, a student of Locust Valley High

Hayley Herzog, a student of Locust Valley High School and the Long Island School for the Arts, shows her passion for life through her dance. Her command of dance reveals itself through her use of musicality, nuance and precision. Always looking to push her boundaries, Hayley has taken her dance studies beyond her local schools with participation in the NYU Future Dancers and Dancemakers Workshop, a part of the New York University Tisch School of The Arts. She has also put her talents to work performing in The Nutcracker with the Eglevsky Ballet, the Glen Dance Studio, and the Lynch School of Ballet.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Hayley Herzog, on-stage

Hayley's passion for life extends far beyond the

Hayley's passion for life extends far beyond the arts. She is a member of Locust Valley High School's Interact Club and the Model UN and volunteers at the Rosemary Kennedy School helping children with developmental and mental disabilities. She has also participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and supports suicide prevention efforts. A model student, Haley is known to take initiative and displays confidence both on and off stage. After high school, she plans to pursue a double major in Social Work and Women's Studies with a minor in Dance.

Aaron Feltman, Long Island Scholar Artist

Huntington High School's Aaron Feltman is a talented

Huntington High School's Aaron Feltman is a talented artist who has made his mark throughout the school and across the oceans. As a member of the school's Art Honor Society, Aaron participated in "Project Memory," in which he created a portrait of a child from an impoverished part of India and gifted it to her as a keepsake. Aaron's work has earned him recognition in a wide range of competitions, including The Heckscher Museum's Long Island's Best Young Artists program. He received a Blue Ribbon Art Show Award at the Huntington High School Art Show for three years running and a Best in Show Award at the Long Island Media Arts Show. His work has also been exhibited at the Nightmare on Main Street exhibition, Main Street Petite Gallery in Huntington and at the Huntington Arts Council's High Arts Showcase.

The work of Long Island Scholar Artist, Aaron Feltman

Aaron has taken his studies just as seriously

Aaron has taken his studies just as seriously and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Math Honor Society and the English Honor Society. He serves as President of both the French Honor Society and the Art Honor Society. He is a member of the Key Club and Art Director for school's yearbook. Aaron plans to continue his art studies through college. Aaron plans to continue his art studies through college.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Catherine Sweeney

Creating music as the core of her life's

Creating music as the core of her life's work, Baldwin High School's Catherine Sweeney is well on her way towards a life steeped in the arts. For four years running she has received the Durrell Blank Scholarship to the New York Summer School of the Arts receiving the Award for Excellence in the School of Choral Studies. Additionally, she received second place in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, has been the Regional Winner of Classical Singer Magazine's Classical Singer Competition and is a member of the City Wide Youth Opera, a New York City based program to work with young adult opera students.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Catherine Sweeney in "the Wiz" as Glinda

Not one to let her studies slip, Catherine

Not one to let her studies slip, Catherine has been a member of the High Honor Roll, with Distinction, from grades nine through twelve. She has also received the Brown University Book award given to an outstanding high school student who best combines academic excellence with clarity in written and spoken expression. She has also been a member of the Mathletes, Robotics and the "Academons" clubs After graduation, Catherine plans to pursue a double major in music and engineering.

Ekaterina Koulakova - May Scholar Artist

Giving back best sums up how Long Island

Giving back best sums up how Long Island Scholar Artist, Ekaterina Koulakova, sees her art at work. Huntington High School's Ekaterina Koulakova saw the ravages that Hurricane Sandy had wreaked upon her home town and the long road to recovery that some of her neighbors were still on. She gathered sixteen pieces form her school's top art students and auctioned them off to help raise funds for the community's recovery. Ekaterina's art has brought attention to her, as well, with Best in Show awards at the Long Island Media Arts show and winning her the Best in Mixed Media at the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association All County Juried Show. No stranger to this sort of attention, she has also been recognized by the Long Island Art League and had her work displayed at venues such as the Hecksher Museum of art, the Legislative Exhibit in Albany and Congressman Israel's Congressional Arts Competition.

The work of May Scholar Artist - Eketerina Koulakova

Eketerina's post high school plans include majoring in

Eketerina's post high school plans include majoring in the political sciences and legal studies and, perhaps, a minor in Middle Eastern Affairs. When asked about her post college plans Ekaterina said, "I am not particularly sure of what I would like to do after college, but I would definitely like to become a college professor, at one point, and I am sure that I will run for president one day".

Samantha Weiser, June Long Island Scholar Artist

When the students of Long Island High School

When the students of Long Island High School for The Arts and Plainview Old Bethpage High School need lighting for their stage productions, Samantha Weiser is their resident expert. Known for showing grace under pressure in a world of shortened deadlines and last minute changes, Samantha has an excellent eye for lighting and set design and an exceptional ear for sound engineering. Her work has enhanced productions at both of the schools she attends, as well as many other productions around Long Island.

Samantha at the lighting console

A local and national honor student, Samantha is

A local and national honor student, Samantha is also the President of the Technical Service Club and the Photography club, a member of the WPOB Radio station, Yearbook club and a Lieutenant in the Plainview Jr. Fire Department. After high school Samantha plans to major in Lighting Design with hopes of becoming a professional Lighting Designer.

June Long Island Scholar Artist, Danna Kimmelman

The art of dance has shaped the life

The art of dance has shaped the life of Danna Kimmelman, a student of the Long Island High School for the Arts and Bellmore-Merrick's John F. Kennedy High School. "I have studied dance for the majority of my life. I have a passion for dance and enjoy studying with different people. I feel that doing this has enabled me to take the best from each of my instructors and to develop my skills with more clarity," explains Danna. Recognized throughout the community for her artistic gifts, this past December, Danna was selected to participate in the premiere of Cracked, an American Theatre Dance Workshop production by Jerome Vivona which is an adaptation of Tchaikovsky's, The Nutcracker. Not content to perform works by others, Danna performed a solo piece of her own choreography at the Long Island Dance Consortium's "Kaleidoscope of Dance" Festival this past summer. Additionally, she was awarded Junior Miss in the 2008 National Dance Showcase. From her volunteer work with the Rosemary Kennedy School to raising money for the National Asthma Society and partaking in an intergenerational dance program for senior citizens, Danna has brought her own charitable nature to help those in need in her community. Danna plans to study engineering and dance when she attends college in the fall.

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