Four NWSA Students Place Finalists in 2009 NFAA Awards

on .

NWSA was well represented this year at the
National Foundation for Advance of the Arts as
Four students earn the prestigious award

 Ayla Weisz during her winning performance of “Instead of a Tango


MIAMI– New World School of the Arts once again excels at training and its talented students. The prestigious National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) Award has been bestowed on four of its exceptional protégés for 2009 selected from a pool of 8,000 students nationwide. The finalists, which this year represent New World School of the Art’s Dance, Theater and Visual Arts divisions, are ballet dancer Ayla LLana Weisz, music theater student Tiffany Alisha de Marchena and Khadijah Rolle, and Michael Jeffery Oakey from visual arts.

Described as an “enigma”, NWSA ballet professor and coach for the arts, Tina Santos, recalls the four years Ayla Weisz has danced at the school as nothing less than “invigorating and exciting.” “Ayla is a determined and mature dancer. With an innate ability to change her persona from one moment to the next, she can become a playful princess, an exotic diva or a dark and mysterious character. Her sense of humor and intense personality, however, is what has helped this young dancer achieve the level of technique that has made her stand out from the rest.”

Khadijah Lowe is a “fine young woman who possesses consummate skill as a singer and a fine actress” states James S. Randolph, theater professor at NWSA who first met Kahdijah as a freshman when she was in his acting I class.  “This young woman has a miraculous singing voice. In fact it is one of the best I have ever heard and I have heard many wonderful voices in my time here at NWSA and at other Theatre programs as well as the professional theatre. Whenever she performs she electrifies the audience with her voice.” A finalist at the 2009 NFAA, Khadijah is in the top 2% for musical theatre in the country.

A fine young woman who possesses great depth as a student, performer and person in general, Tiffany Alisha de Marchena has also displayed true growth as an artist. According to Randolph, “she displayed a great deal of potential, and has proved herself time and time again. There are 30 teachers in the NWSA theater division, and students get a comprehensive program in theatre, which includes acting, movement, voice, several types of dance, play writing and many other courses. Tiffany applies all of herself and gets results. Dedicated, determined, committed to the work, has Tiffany has old-world manners, observes proper decorum, and has a good sense of humor. She displays courage, grace under fire, citizenship and all the qualities you are looking for in the arts.”

Of Michael Jeffery Oakey, Tom Wyroba, visual arts faculty in the NWSA high school program, states that “he has a natural ability to draw figures and is a young artist that is not afraid to take risks” blossoming at the early age of fifteen, Wyroba describes Oakey as a serious and dedicated individual that sets an example in the visual arts.” Michael describes his work as “stereotypical with a twist. It is about the though process and the conscious and subconscious thoughts that make people individuals”

About NWSA: New World School of the Arts has produced more than 210 NFAA Award recipients and 14 Presidential Scholars in the Arts, placing it among the most influential and prestigious arts conservatories in the nation. In 1984 the Florida State Legislature established New World School of the Arts to provide artistically talented high school and college students the means for achieving both an academic education and artistic training and, in September 1986 opened its doors to trainees in grades ten through twelve. Over 3000 students of every ethnic and economic background have since attended NWSA’s arts programs. New World School of the Arts is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art, Dance, Music and Theater, and offers the high school diploma as well as four-year BFA and BM college degrees.

New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.

About NFAA: The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) was established in 1981 to identify emerging artists and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development, and to raise the appreciation for and support of the arts in American society. Each year since its inception in 1981, the NFAA, based in Miami and founded by Lin and Ted Arison of Carnival Cruises, selects more than 140 High School seniors from a pool of thousands of candidates nationwide and offers them the opportunity to travel to Miami to present their artistic talents and achievements. These fortunate few also receive cash awards of $100 to $10,000 per student, or scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 annually for four years to further enhance their artistic education. The objective of this institution is to identify talented arts students in their senior year in High School. The deadline to apply is October 1st of each year. More information about NFAA is available online at

Photo Captions: Ayla Weisz during her winning performance of “Instead of a Tango, choreographed by NWSA’s Tina Santos. Khadijah Rolle in The Wheels of a Dream from the musical Ragtime. Photos taken by Juan Cabrera.

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