Tallahassee, Fla – Former First Lady of Florida Columba Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) today announced the 2015 Arts for Life! scholarship winners. Scholars were selected from more than 800 outstanding applicants from 42 counties across Florida. Students in public, magnet, charter, virtual and private schools, as well as home education programs, vied for the prestigious award now in its 16th year. This year’s scholarship winners were selected by a committee of respected experts in one of the scholarship’s five disciplines of creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual art.
“Each year, I am amazed by the incredible talent of these aspiring young performers and artists. Their creativity and passion for the arts is inspiring,” said Mrs. Bush. “It is my hope that these scholarships will help support these young artists as they continue to pursue their dreams and share their love for the arts with others.”
“ExcelinEd is proud to award $50,000 in college scholarships to talented Florida high school seniors for their excellence in the arts,” said Patricia Levesque, chief executive officer of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “Since the program was launched by Mrs. Bush 16 years ago, more than 375 students have received over $425,000 in college scholarships.”
In addition to the $2,000 cash award, the Arts for Life! College Matching Program provides an additional matching in-kind scholarship, worth a minimum of $1,000, to award winners attending a participating Florida institutions of higher education, including: Broward College, College of Central Florida, Flagler College, Florida Atlantic University, Florida College, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida Southern College, Jacksonville University, Miami-Dade College, NOVA Southeastern University, Palm Beach State College and Stetson University.
The 2015 Arts for Life! scholarship winners are:
Shamiya Anderson – Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County
GeChonne Laurent – Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Alexandria Rodriguez – Fort Pierce Central High School, St. Lucie County
Jenna Sherriton – American Heritage School, Broward County
Nika Sourakov – Eastside High School, Alachua County
Spencer Croy – Harrison School for the Arts, Polk County
David Friedman – Howard W. Blake High School, Hillsborough County
Maddie Mateer – Gulf Breeze High School, Santa Rosa County
Jessica Chancey – Lake Mary High School, Seminole County
Ismail Ercan – Pine Crest School, Broward County
Diana Schwam – Timber Creek High School, Orange County
Thomas Swanson – East River High School, Orange County
Allison Taylor – Oxbridge Academy, Palm Beach County
Sophie Ammon – Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, Pinellas County
Zoe Cappello – Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, Pinellas County
Patricia Duenas – Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Marialejandra Feliciani – Cypress Bay High School, Broward County
Mark Fleuridor – Miami Arts Charter School, Miami-Dade County
Jessica Floyd – Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County
Kirsten Kelly – Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Melissa Posner – Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Helmuth Rosales – Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Samantha Santana – Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Lena Stein – Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Palm Beach County
Kevin Zapata – Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Arts for Life! scholarships are made possible through the generosity of Mr. Ronald O. Perelman.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education thanks the following patrons for their support of the 2015 Arts for Life! program: Composer: Kyra Solutions, Publix Super Markets Charities, Raymond James; Surrealist: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Jeanne Godwin, The Florida House on Capitol Hill, Robert & Margaret Rothman, Kathleen Shanahan; Protégé: Britto Central, Hyatt Regency.
For more information about Arts for Life!, visit ArtsForLifeAward.org.