With 21 Presidential Scholars in the Arts since 1989, and 89 YoungArts Finalists / 310 YoungArts Winners since 2002, New World School of the Arts students continue to leave their artistic mark in our community. Among the 171 YoungArts Finalists selected this year are seven NWSA students, joining the ranks as in their respective artistic fields. In addition, NWSA students received three YoungArts Honorable Mentions and seven Merit Awards for a grand total 17 awards.
NWSA 2019 YoungArts Finalists include: Jamaii Melvin, Dance; Shoshana Sklar, Dance; Jack Kessler, Music - Viola; Danielle Llevada, Theater; Cassandra Bozman, Visual Arts; Sergie Espinales, Visual Arts; Carolina Robles, Visual Arts.
According to the National YoungArts Foundation website, all winners are eligible to participate in YoungArts’ regional programs, including YoungArts Miami, YoungArts Los Angeles and YoungArts New York, and will join a professional network of distinguished artists. This year’s Finalists have the opportunity to participate in the 37th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami. Finalists are also eligible for nomination to the White House-appointed Commission on Presidential Scholars. As the sole nominating agency, YoungArts selects 60 Finalists each year, 20 of whom are selected to become U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the highest honors for a graduating high school senior.
About New World School of the Arts’ YoungArts Finalists:
A YoungArts Finalist in two categories, Dance student Jamaii Miles Melvin placed in the Dance categories of Modern / Contemporary and Choreography. “For Modern / Contemporary, faculty member/teacher Jeffrey Smith choreographed my solo work entitled “Resist.” For Choreography I submitted an excerpt from my own piece “The Gray Area” presenting a developed environment of hurt, exposure, and unity,” he explained. When asked about his preparation for the competition Jamaii highlighted, “from the application process to filming, New World School of the Arts has molded the artist I am today. Discipline and time management is implemented into the human and developing artist after the first month of being at the school. The passion and support for one’s art form and academic interest are highly valued. It shows through each of my submissions to YoungArts because of the care for not only the artist, but the human.” Jamaii hopes to attend a conservatory-based program college or university that focuses on both knowledge and physical aspects of his art form and plans to audition for The Juilliard School, University of Southern California, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Point Park University, and Fordham University - The Ailey School.
Seventeen-year-old Shoshana Sklar, a high school senior in NWSA Dance division, earned her place as YoungArts Finalist with a contemporary solo entitled “First Snow” choreographed by Ida Saki. “NWSA has provided me with exceptional training, in both - ballet and modern technique, while allowing me to explore the depths of this art form and discover my artistic voice. They have nurtured my potential and my passion over the past four years and helped me to grow into a more mature and knowledgeable artist,” said Shoshana. “The teachers have supported and guided me on my entire journey and have instilled in me a greater sense of self that I will forever be grateful for. They helped me to believe in myself.” Valuing dedication, drive and honesty above all else, she credits the amount of time she has devoted to her rehearsals, both at school and on her own, many times listening to her choreography music repeatedly to critique herself. “I believe that the choreography of this piece contributed to my accomplishment because it is something that I can connect to and use as a means for telling a story.” Shoshana will be applying to The Juilliard School, University of Southern California SUNY Purchase, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and Boston Conservatory to continue her dance studies.
Jack Kessler, a senior in the NWSA high school Music division whose instrument is the viola, earned his Finalist placement performing Bloch’s Suite Hebraique, Brahm’s Sonata No. 2 in E Flat, Bartok’s Viola Concerto and Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3. “Richard Fleischman, viola professor at New World School of the Arts, mentored me, elevating my playing to a level that has afforded me many wonderful musical experiences, including opportunities to surround myself with some of the best classical musicians in the country. Having studio class every week with Mr. Fleischman has been extremely beneficial because I am more comfortable with performing in front of an audience than I was as a freshman.” Like his winning peers, Jack credits practice, dedication, and hard work to his artistic success and accomplishments and offers a word of advice to those hoping to someday follow the same path - “Perform as often as you can. One should be willing to take risks, deal with criticism, and put in countless hours of hard work to perfect a craft. It is also important to network and connect with people via social media, email, or in person. I would also recommend attending as many concerts as possible and become culturally diverse. Finally, be creative, be curious, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.” Jack will be applying to The Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute, Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan, Eastman School of Music, and Colburn School as he pursues multiple degrees in Viola Performance.
With her monologues and song presentations, Cuban-American high school Theater student Danielle Llevada’s successfully placed as 2018 YoungArts Finalist. Her presentations included DNA by Dennis Kelly and Hecuba by Euripides, as well as the song “No Man is Worth it” from Dance a Little Closer by Charles Strouse. “Be unapologetically you. There is nothing more compelling than an artist who brings pieces of themselves into their work,” is the advice Danielle gives her younger peers while explaining that it was her ability to find objectives, analyze text, and learn how to inhabit the physical life of a character that helped her with her successful presentation. “New World has welcomed vulnerability and helped me ground myself and bring truth into my creative work. I found it helpful when my peers and I reviewed and filmed each other’s material. Their energetic and supportive nature brings me confidence.” Danielle plans to continue her acting track eventually going into directing, as she applies for BFA programs at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, DePaul University, Rutgers University, Yale University, Vassar College, Columbia University, and Northwestern University, among others.
Sergi Espinales, from the high school Visual Arts division, submitted a ten-piece portfolio to YoungArts; however, he believes that it was his "Barricada" series that propelled him to place Finalist. “For this series I casted a 160+ cement bricks by hand in order to recreate the barricades that were propped up by the Nicaraguan people fighting against the government. I then proceeded to set them up in different places around my house. This was done as both, an act of solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and a protest against the actions of the Nicaraguan government.” Sergi proudly mentions that NWSA played an important role in his preparation over the course of the past for years - not only for this accomplishment, but also for college life and what it means to be an artist with a professional art practice in the real world. “I also believe the sense of hard work instilled in me by my parents at a young age is something that really helped contribute to this accomplishment.” Although his top choice for college is Cooper Union, he will be applying to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Kansas City Art Institute, SMFA at Tufts University, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design, among others as he pursues his BFA degree in sculpture and fine arts.
NWSA 2019 YoungArts Honorable Mentions include: Kaylan Hernandez, Music - Voice/Classical/Soprano; Faith Duncombe, Theater; Allison Murphy, Theater. NWSA 2019 YoungArts Merits include: Stéphane Clément, Music - Jazz/Trumpet; Julian Gonzalez, Music - Jazz/Saxophone/Tenor; Ian Munoz, Music - Jazz/Saxophone/Alto; Claudio Silva, Music - Jazz/Percussion; Adam Stein, Music - Jazz/Saxophone/Alto; Nicolaus Gelin, Music - Jazz/Trumpet.
About YoungArts: YoungArts 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, YoungArts, based in Miami and founded by Lin and Ted Arison of Carnival Cruises, selects more than 120 High School seniors from a pool of thousands of candidates nationwide and offers them the opportunity to present their artistic talents and achievements in Miami. 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.
About New World School of the Arts: Founded in 1987, New World School of the Arts (NWSA) is a center of artistic and academic excellence in the visual and performing arts, dedicated to training High School and College students interested in careers in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Through its educational partnerships with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and University of Florida, NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees, in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art & Design.
Blind to academic standing at the onset, New World School of the Arts’ acceptance policy is based solely on artistic talent - allowing students from all backgrounds, ethnicities and socioeconomic status to compete for their spot in the school’s coveted arts programs based on their individual talent. Earning respected national merit and leadership-based scholarships such as the Gates Scholarship, Posse Foundation, and Presidential Scholar in the Arts, NWSA students have demonstrated over the years that a rigorous arts curriculum not only helps foster their passion and create the next generation or artists, but it also helps students engage and achieve excellence in any academic discipline.
Through its gifted, emerging artists and unique programs, New World School of the Arts has become an educational and creative beacon of the arts, cultivating a generation of artists who have significantly marked the local and global artistic landscape. Trained by professional artists in their respective arts fields, our alumni are a source of inspiration to young artists from all walks of life in our community and in our state, and their success is a testament to the possibilities that emerge when the right blend of support and resources are engaged.
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.