Today, 43rd Florida Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), and former first lady Columba Bush celebrated the 2017 Arts for Life! scholarship winners during a luncheon and award ceremony hosted at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Mrs. Bush, a passionate advocate for the arts and arts education, established Arts for Life! in 1999 to recognize the creativity and artistic talents of Florida’s high school students. In the program’s 18 years, more than $500,000 in scholarships have been awarded to more than 425 talented students in recognition of their achievement in the arts.
“Each year, I am amazed by the incredible talent of Florida’s aspiring young performers and artists, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education is proud to honor them,” 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. Thanks to their talent and passion, I know the arts will continue to play a key role in Florida’s future.”
Arts for Life! annually awards cash scholarships to 25 of Florida’s graduating high school seniors who excel in the arts. The 2017 winners were selected from more than 725 exceptional high school seniors from 45 counties across Florida, with students in public, magnet, charter, virtual and private schools, as well as home education programs vying for the prestigious award. 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.
Prior to the luncheon, students participated in the annual Arts for Life! Artist Symposium, a panel of professionals representing several arts disciplines offering guidance and advice based on their experiences. Winners in attendance also performed or displayed their art in the discipline for which they were awarded.
The 2017 Arts for Life! scholarship winners are:
Sophia DuRose – Osceola County School for the Arts, Osceola County
Alana Gomez – A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Alissa Martinez – Melbourne High School, Brevard County
Morgan Masek – Cinco Bayou Homeschool Academy, Okaloosa County
Graziella Spina – North Broward Preparatory School, Broward County
Aubrey Kirk – William R. Boone High School, Orange County
Brooke Sterling – Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Sophia Young – Coral Glades High School, Broward County
Emily Erdman – Seminole High School, Seminole County
Daniel Guevara – New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Thomas Potter – Timber Creek High School, Orange County
Benjamin Tillinger – Cypress Bay High School, Broward County
Jenna Agres – Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Tyler Berget – Florida Virtual School, Orange County
Justin Darrow – Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County
Adriana De La Torre – New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Alyson del Pino – New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County
Maya Drummond – A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Allison Kimsey – Harrison School for the Arts, Polk County
Sofiya Kuzmina – Miami Arts Charter School, Miami-Dade County
Alexander Lopez – Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Bailey Magee – Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami-Dade County
Gabriela Pena – Westminster Academy, Broward County
Sophia Simmons – A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County
Caleb Wild – Ambassador Academy, Hillsborough County
View samples of these talented artists’ work at ArtsforLifeAward.org.