Good Evening
Good Evening
Long IslandEducation

Valley Stream student wins Heckscher Museum art contest

Nicole Noel won the best-in-show award in Long

Nicole Noel won the best-in-show award in Long Island's Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum. She is with her art teacher Mario Bakalov, left, and Doris Wilshere, general manager of Roosevelt Field's Neiman Marcus store, which funded the exhibit. Credit: Heckscher Museum of Art

A Valley Stream student won best-in-show in an annual art contest that received a record number of entries from across Long Island.

Nicole Noel, a Valley Stream Central High School senior, took the top spot in “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum,” a juried competition and exhibition at Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington. The 20th annual event drew 357 entries from 53 schools.

Second place went to Aaron Feltman of Huntington High School. Nina Miller and Cory Levy of Long Beach and Sayville high schools, respectively, placed third and fourth.

“The quality of work we receive is exceptional,” said Joy Weiner, the museum’s director of education and public programs. “It is very difficult to narrow the entries to around 80 works for the exhibition.”

To participate, high schoolers visited the museum and selected one piece to stimulate the creation of an original work. The juried selection then narrowed the field to artwork by 83 teens from 44 schools, which appeared in a monthlong exhibition through May 15.

Noel’s colored-pencil piece, titled “Another Pity,” addresses police brutality and features an African-American girl holding a wounded loved one. It was inspired by “Lady Madonna,” a 1972 lithograph created by American artist Audrey Flack.

“Flack often incorporated imagery with historical, cultural and religious significance into her work to convey more contemporary themes,” Noel said.


Japan Society fellow

Copiague High School junior Claudia Motley is one of 10 students nationwide selected for the Japan Society’s 2016 Junior Fellows Leadership Program.

The three-week summer program gives teenagers an opportunity to network with leaders in various fields and with program alumni. Selection factors included their future potential and leadership skills.

During the program, students stay with a host family in Tokyo while attending a local school. They also will research and experience Japan’s history and culture through a study trip to historical sites.

“I am so excited to be pursuing something I’m very passionate about,” said Motley, who lived in Japan for three years as a girl with her mother, who worked as an English teacher.


Songwriting winner

Smithtown High School East junior Julia Graye placed first in the teen category of the International Songwriting Competition, a global contest for aspiring and established songwriters. Graye was selected for her indie folk song, “Labyrinth,” which was produced at Bloom Music NYC in Manhattan and inspired by John Green’s 2005 novel, “Looking for Alaska.”

For winning, she received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where pupils play in ensembles, develop improvisational and reading skills, and attend private lessons. This year’s contest had some 16,000 entries.

“I am so honored by this and have no words to describe how happy I am to have been given this award,” said Graye, who has three songs on iTunes, with plans for a new album in June.


Presidential Scholars semifinalists

Seven Long Island students were among 689 semifinalists named nationwide last month as U.S. Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education for their academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, character and community involvement.

Local semifinalists were Sahil Abbi of Herricks High School, David Li of Commack High School, Ariel Leong of Ward Melville High School, Jessica Huang of Jericho High School, John Messina of Division Avenue High School, Julian Ubriaco of Kings Park High School and Ruojing Fang of Longwood High School.

Latest Long Island News