Kelley Kessell and Jessica Suhr named 2012 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts

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Kelley Kessell and Jessica Suhr, 
2012 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts
bring the grand total for NWSA to 16 scholars since 1988
MIAMI -- Earning two of the twenty US Presidential Scholar in the Arts awards this year, New World School of the Arts once again brings the Presidential Scholar in the Arts awards home, and this time it represents two of its art divisions. Kelley Kessell, from music-theater at NWSA was nominated in the category of Pop Vocal for her impeccable delivery of “At Last” during YoungArts. The coveted nomination for Jessica Suhr, a visual artist, was the result of her photo-painting artwork reminiscent of her youth in her native Venezuela. Both scholars will have the opportunity to invite a professor from the institution to join them as they travel to Washington, June 16-19 to receive their award from the hands of President Barack Obama.
 Kelley Kessell“This is a special year for New World School of the Arts, as we celebrate our SilverAnniversary and this is the perfect culmination to our academic season. Over 25 years New World School of the Arts has established a reputation for excellence artistically and academically and we couldn’t be more proud for two more of our students to receive this important national distinction,” said Jeffrey Hodgson, Provost at NWSA. “Their accomplishments demonstrate the passion, creativity and pursuit of excellence we see in all of our students, and the mission of our school, to train the future leaders of the arts.  Bravo to these fine young talented artists!
Singer, actor, pianist and highly accomplished in academics, Kelley Kessell is the typical ‘type A’ overachiever who “went all out” during YoungArts, receiving the US President Scholar in the Artsnomination for her interpretation of At Last, by Etta James in the Pop Vocalcategory. She also received a Merit Award in Music Theater for her intense monologue The Duchess of Padua, by Oscar Wilde. Of Cuban mother and Anglo father, Kelley credits her family for their love and support, which have helped her to achieve “impossible goals.” Class president of her sophomore class and an active member of the Christian Youth Band for the past six years, Kelley dedicates much of her “spare time” during the weekends to singing at homeless shelters, orphanages and other venues, as well as teaching at a community music school. During her senior year, Kelly brilliantly captured the lead role of Christine Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, further cementing her artistic abilities and paving the way in the music theater field. Although Kelley will concentrate her undergraduate studies in Computer Science at Florida State University, she plans to continue honing her music skills.
“I know that hard work pays off and there’s nothing more magical than knowing that those ‘impossible goals’ can be achieved” stated Kelley. To other aspiring artists she offers this advice, “Never give up, go for big, and do what you love. There is no better success than happiness.”
Of Venezuelan descent, Jessica Suhr, described by her guidance counselor, Pamela Cabarcos, as “responsible, humble, self-motivated, and driven” is in the top 5% of the high achieving NWSA high school senior class. With a 5.9 GPA, Jessica received the 2011 Scholastics Gold Key award for visual arts and is involved in numerous organizations in and outside the school. Some of these include The National Spanish Honor Society – where she acts as Jessica Suhr vice-president, the National Art Honor Society, the Future Educators of America, the Environmental Club, and the Gay-Straight Alliance. She has logged over 300 community service hours by tutoring, painting murals in underprivileged areas of Miami and has served as artist assistance at a local museum. Jessica has also coordinated and participated in the Coconut Grove Art Festival and multiple cultural shows in New World School of the Arts. During the 2011 Art Basel Miami, Jessica participated in A Piece of Me exhibition. One of her “most stimulating artistic experiences,” this show allowed her to collaborate with international acclaimed artist Hernan Bas by creating a video piece, along with her sister, in response to the artist’s painting. In addition, Jessica has a ‘black belt’ in Tae Kwon Do, enjoys scuba diving and plays the classic guitar. Jessica Suhr will be attending MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), along with her twin sister – also a visual artist at New World School of the Arts – where she hopes to double major in Humanitarian Studies and in Sculpture.
“Being nominated a Presidential Scholar in the Arts not only facilitated my attendance to the college of my choice and validated my own efforts, it has also given me the motivation to pursue my dream of being an artist,” expressed Jessica.
Added to the notable list of US Presidential Scholar in the Arts awards received by New World School of the Arts students, this recognition is bestowed upon a handful of promising students in the nation each year. For the institution that forms and nurtures them, the reward comes in the form prestige and distinction. Including the 2012 scholars, NWSA has won a total of 16 Presidential Scholar in the Arts awards since 1988.
The distinguished history of the New World School of the Arts began in 1984 when the Florida State Legislature established the institution to provide artistically talented high school and college students the means to achieve both an academic education and artistic training. In September 1986, NWSA opened its doors to students in grades ten through twelve. NWSA’s audition-based programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art, Dance, Music and Theater. NWSA offers the high school diploma as well as a four-year BFA or BM college degree.
The theater division at NWSA is dedicated to training exceptionally talented and committed students to pursue careers in the theater. The program concentrates on the actor’s training, delving into fundamentals of physical and emotional preparation, and the achievement of truthfulness and expressive power on the stage. Areas on concentration include acting and musical theater.
With a comprehensive curriculum designed to train and nurture aspiring artists, the visual arts division at New World School of the Arts provides an environment for creative discovery. While students are encouraged to explore new paths,they are also exposed to works of classical and contemporary masters, providing them with a richly diverse and well-rounded perspective. Areas of visual arts concentrations include electronic media, graphic design, drawing, painting,photography, printmaking and sculpture.
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 between Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.  
For information about New World School of the Arts, please call at 305-237-3135 or visit

Photos: Jessica Suhr, Kelly Kessell. Photos courtesy of NWSA            

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