MIAMI -- Earning two of the twenty US PresidentialScholar in the Arts this year, New World School of the Arts once again brings home to Miami the coveted honor, representing its excellent theater program. The Scholars, Katerina McCrimmon and Sean Stack, will have the opportunity to invite a professor from NWSA to join them as they travel to Washington D.C. next month to receive their recognition at the White House. The Presidential Scholar award presented on behalf of the President of the United States is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students and symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential.
“I couldn’t think of two more deserving students for this prestigious honor. Katerina and Sean are not only outstanding students and extremely talented young artists, but they’re also incredible human beings who have been role models for all of our theater students during their four years at New World School of the Arts,” said NWSA Dean of Theater, Patrice Bailey. “They are both passionate about theater and have taken advantage of every opportunity that the theater division has to offer students, even creating opportunities for themselves as performers. It has been a pure delight to watch these two young actors become artists and Presidential Scholars in the Arts.”
Katerina McCrimmon, who was recently honored with the $1000 Jack Zink Memorial Carbonell Awards Scholarship for future studies in theater, is a senior at New World School of the Arts. She is a natural leader in all aspects of her life, and demonstrates her involvement through multiple social justice community activities. She is also the Historian for Girls Learn International. Katerina’s theater credits at NWSA include Fiddler on the Roof, Children of Eden, and John and Jen, a two-hour monologue directed by fellow Presidential Scholar Sean Stack. She also enjoys playwriting and has had two of her plays showcased during New World School of the Arts New Playwrights' Festival.
“I am so thankful to have been trained by New World School of the Arts over the pastfour years,” stated McCrimmon. “New World has fostered my artistic growth in the best way, encouraging me to flourish in a nurturing environment. I still don't think it has hit me yet. To be named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts is something I have always dreamed about but could never imagine myself achieving. I feel like a new person and it all just seems unreal."
After being accepted to Ball State University, Florida State University, Roosevelt University, CAP21, University of Miami, and Syracuse University, Katerina plans to attend Florida State University in the fall to pursue music theatre. “My goal is to work and improve as an actor and never stop doing what I love,” she concluded.
Sean Stack is a senior in the Theater Division of New World School of the Arts, where he has leading acting roles in Once on this Island, Cabaret, The Skin of Our Teeth, and Fiddler on the Roof. In addition, he will be playing Jesus Christ in the upcoming Mainstage production of O Beautiful under the direction of Stuart Meltzer.
“I am overjoyed and inexpressibly grateful to have been named a 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts,” said Stack. He looks forward to working under Debbie Allen in Washington, D.C., where he hopes to experience the magic of collaborative art making, as well as to connect with his fellow 2016 scholars.
Born in Miami to a Jamaican mother and an American father, Sean learned from a young age what he wanted to be, and participated in dance classes and summer camp musicals. This ignited an early passion for theater. However, upon enrolling in NWSA in 2012, he began to appreciate the value of theater as an art form, rather than a performance opportunity. Sean highlights that without the dedication and wisdom of his theater teachers at NWSA he would not have fostered his love for acting, which has helped him become a YoungArts winner and subsequently win the Scholar in the Arts distinction. Sean thanks these teachers for “encouraging him to step out his comfort zone and pursue other areas of interest within the umbrella of theater.” He continues to explain that their guidance helped him realize a career path in the arts, where he hopes to instill in people the power of art he experienced at New World School of the Arts.
“Being named a 2016 Presidential Scholar in the Arts means joining a community of dedicated individuals, who, for 52 years,have been changing the world,” explained Stack. “That I can connect with these people in my future theater-making, in additional to the artistic team I will work with next month, is exciting and tremendously gratifying. I feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity.”
Sean will be pursuing his BFA in acting at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He was also accepted to Carnegie Mellon, Rutgers, Yale, SUNY Purchase, and DePaul University in Chicago.
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 of prestige and distinction. Including the 2016 scholars, New World School of the Arts has been honored with 18 Presidential Scholar in the Arts awards since 1988, seven of which have been from the Theater Division at NWSA.
Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson, Provost of New World School of the Arts noted, “As NWSA approaches its 30th Anniversary our students continue to demonstrate their artistic excellence not only on stage at school, but on the national stage. This achievement confirms what their faculty have nurtured over the last four years, it confirms their potential as the next generation of artistic leaders in this country. We couldn’t be more proud for their accomplishment.”
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.
Information about New World School of the Arts is available at 305-237-3135 or at http://nwsa.mdc.edu
More about the Theater Division in New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3541
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Photo by Juan E. Cabrera. Katerina McCrimmon and Sean Stack in a scene from "Children of Eden"