Five Miami-Dade Students Honored as YoungArts Presidential Scholars

The future of Miami’s arts community was well represented at the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts event recently in Washington, D.C., when students from New World School of the Arts and the Design & Architecture High School (DASH) performed and exhibited their art. The prestigious event was presented by the National YoungArts Foundation in cooperation with the Commission in Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education. The performance was directed by legendary choreographer Debbie Allen.

The five students all went through the rigorous YoungArts application process and were rewarded handsomely as winners. They were from DASH Diana Eusebio, fashion design and fine arts; Cornelius Tulloch visual arts design; and Nadia Wolf, visual arts. Representing New World School of the Arts were Sean Stack and Katerina McCrimmon, both visual arts graduates.

Fashion design and visual arts exhibition by YoungArts Presidential Scholars (Photo Courtesy of YoungArts)

They all had long roads toward becoming scholars, paved with plenty of hard work, incredible mentors, and a passion for their art.

Eusebio was encouraged to apply in her junior year at DASH and completed her entire portfolio two weeks before the deadline. Thus began her journey toward being selected as a finalist for Fine Arts.

“I presented my line of accessory design and garments that are sculptural and artistic and was interviewed about my grades and community service during the YoungArts evaluation,” said Eusebio. “I was honored to receive such a prestigious award and participate in such an incredible national event. I never expected to be working on something so large scale.” It was Eusebio’s first trip ever to Washington, D.C.

Tulloch has had a passion for art since elementary school when he used to love to doodle. That lead to attending DASH where he says, “I took every suggestion the teachers gave me and began to really explore art on a different level.”

While in school, he pushed himself to develop technical skills by taking architecture design and art courses, which made art more than just functional or utilitarian for him. That led to internships with a few architectural firms and a three-week trip to the School of Visual Arts, all before graduating.

“It’s important to create art that shows what you believe in, and my caring about the environment, and that is showcased in my work,” said Tulloch.

In D.C. he assisted with props, utilizing his artistic skills to help performers think out their process and develop the look of the show.

Setting her sights on YoungArts as a goal since her sophomore year, Wolf created her portfolio for her senior year and emulated the work of fellow students that she admired. “Because Miami has such a diverse culture, my specific goal as a Haitian-American woman was to represent the diaspora and how it fits into my life and into the culture,” said Wolf.

She spent the summer before her senior year conceptualizing her portfolio so when the school year commenced, she felt like her portfolio was ready.

That preparation led to her being chosen for the D.C. trip, where she worked with performers in the tribute to the presidential scholars as a whole as well as having her work displayed in the exhibition showcase.

She now heads to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design to attend their five-year program where she will be one of 15 students who will alternate between schools for their studies. “I credit my family and graphic design teacher as my incredible support system. My teacher helped me make my portfolio stronger and having a peer group was invaluable as well,” she said.

New World’s Stack is more than just a YoungArts Presidential Scholar, he also loved to attend performances and talks at YoungArts on their Biscayne Boulevard campus. It’s part of his philosophy and inspiration for studying theater.

“Making theater is like pursuing a higher goal that is never achievable but it keeps you pushing forward. I think you never stop learning, and acting is never perfect. The type of acting you produce changes with age and you always learn, grow, and change,” said Stack.

Performance by theater winners during YoungArts Presidential Scholars show in Washington DC.
(Photo courtesy of YoungArts)

He loved participating in Washington, D.C. with a group of passionate people that care as much about the work in their respective field as he does about his. And being chosen for such a prestigious award “was a validation of the hard work of the years past,” he said.

McCrimmon, Stack’s fellow New World theater graduate, submitted a video to YoungArts for a grade but says it was something she would have done even if she hadn’t been required.

“I had heard how great YoungArts is, so when I was chosen as a finalist it was like a dream come true, so unreal,” said McCrimmon. “I was also excited to be in D.C. creating with fellow YoungArts winners.”

She spent a lot of time writing essays and working through the application process. Her inspiration to spread the word about current events was woven into those essays. She always strives to have people’s voices heard through her art, “especially the voices of those going through hardship or struggles or being persecuted,” she said. “I am inspired by humanity itself.”

McCrimmon will spend her summer serving as Artistic Director at Miami Children’s Theater before heading to Florida State University.

Read more about these students’ many accomplishments here and check out this video of the performance.

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