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2021-22 Long Island Scholar Artists

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. To learn more visit:

Long Island Scholar Artist, Megan Bush

The theater for Megan Bush is a place

The theater for Megan Bush is a place of familiarity. Her skills have shined on multiple stages, from the Nassau Community College Monologue Competition to Deer Park High School's Breakfast of Champions.

"My creative inspiration comes from the world around me: within nature, melodies or scripts," says Megan. "I am motivated to create poetry, a new dance piece, or a character to perform."

Megan will direct the One Act Play Festival and plans to co-host Cabaret Night this fall. She could also be seen in the Winter Play and Spring Musical. Before the pandemic, Megan served as a student-teacher at Vic D'amore's American Studio of Performing Arts working with young dancers training in ballet and tap."Art can shape the world and that is what's most rewarding," said Megan, president of the National Honor and International Thespian honor societies. "It can make people think. It can make people question; I want my art to tell a story."

Megan Bush, on-stage

Megan's talents extend past the stage. This is

Megan's talents extend past the stage. This is evident in her key roles as vice president of the Spanish Honor Society, her dedication to the Math and Science honor societies, plus her position as co-chair of the Poems, Essays and Novels Society.

Megan, a volunteer with Dancing for Autism, uses her craft to answer one question. "What can I do as an artist to send a message? This question I ask myself as I take on any project," says Megan.

Megan plans to pursue a degree in musical theatre while also staying involved in performance-based activism and choreography

Long Island Scholar Artist, Eileen Zhao

Violin has come naturally to Eileen Zhao, even

Violin has come naturally to Eileen Zhao, even from a very young age. Her dedication paid off, culminating in a performance as a soloist during the International Crescendo Competition at Carnegie Hall where she took first-place honors, and an appearance on CNN's "Fourth in America" special on July 4 alongside country star Billy Ray Cyrus.

"At the age of four, I was placed in group violin lessons with children around my age. Music had already appealed to my interests at the time through TV shows and movies, but violin lessons were something that elevated my interest and value  placed in music," says the North Shore High School standout. 

A concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra, Eileen holds key memberships to the Tri-M Music Honor Society and the Environmental Club. For Eileen, past lessons drive her creative fire

Eileen Zhao

"My inspiration for creating music comes from the

"My inspiration for creating music comes from the lessons I've learned over the years and putting them into the context of the repertoire I'm performing," says Eileen, who teaches violin to sixth-graders. "Being able to see and hear so many incredible musicians has directly taught me different ways of understanding music, and that inspires me to create a new interpretation of an orchestral work."

Eileen also served as concertmaster in the 2018-19 Symphony Orchestra for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and last year's Long Island String Arts Festival. "I find that learning from my peers and teachers has been very impactful on my playing," says the All-County musician. "When watching other musicians, you're able to directly see and listen to the way others display their passion and interpretation of the musical work."

Eileen plans to major in biology and pursue a career in medicine

Suffolk County Long Island Scholar Artist, Vivienne Love

The camera for Vivienne Love is about style,

The camera for Vivienne Love is about style, composition and angles. Photography came into her life at an early age.

"What got me interested in photography is when a camera was placed into my hands when I was little, mostly for my parents' amusement, and it eventually became second nature for me to take photos," Vivienne of East Patchogue says. "I was encouraged to take pictures of anything, even muddy grass or a shaky photo of my cat."

For Vivienne, setting up a shot is a privilege. 

"Somewhere in my house, there is an album with knee-high photos of Disneyland," says Vivienne, a member of the National, Math and Science honor societies. "I saved up enough for a Nintendo DSi, equipped with two 0.3-megapixel cameras within the front and top screens. From there, my interest kept growing, and I just kept on growing my projects."

(pictured above, the work of Vivienne) At Bellport

(pictured above, the work of Vivienne)

At Bellport High School, Vivienne won the Teeny Recognition for Lighting for the production of "The Game's Afoot." She also helped build the set and organize the production's audio.

"Participating in crew really helped me grow as a person," Vivienne says. "I've made countless friends, and it allowed me to grow my leadership skills with the small group I share the lighting booth with."

Vivienne, the school yearbook's president, recently exhibited her work at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, The Suffolk County Art Leaders Association Showcase, among other events. She plans to study radio, film and television in college with a minor in environmental science.

Long Island Scholar Artist, Anna Verutes

Dance for Anna Verutes goes back to her

Dance for Anna Verutes goes back to her days as a toddler. The South Side High School standout has dedicated her life to the craft.

"When I watch the recording of my first recital, I realize how comfortable I was on stage," she says. "I was fearless and happy, even at the age of two. The art of dance has enriched my life in so many ways both emotionally and physically."

In July, Anna performed in Times Square for the TV show "Wonderama" as part of the Times Square Summer Concert Series. She recently shined in the 2021 Battery Dance Festival with the Kanyok Arts Initiative.

(pictured above, the work of  Anna Verutes)

(pictured above, the work of  Anna Verutes)

"When I am dancing, I feel extreme joy and that there is nothing else I'd rather be doing," Anna, of Rockville Centre, says. "Dance is something that allows me to truly be myself, and I am not worried about what others think of me."

A member of the National Honor Society, plus the Spanish and Math honor societies, Anna danced with the Eglevsky Ballet Company in Bethpage for five years, calling the work "extremely special."

"My teachers at Kanyok Arts Initiative and Eglevsky have instilled so much confidence throughout my years of training, and it has helped me become the dancer I am today," she says.

Anna plans to dance in college with a focus on ballet, modern dance and jazz. She's currently recording audition videos and preparing school applications.

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