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Leonore Annenberg Scholarship, Fellowship, and School Funds Announce 2013 Grant Recipients

25 schools, scholars and arts fellows receive $3.9 million in funds.

April 17, 2013 (New York, NY) – The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship, Fellowship and School Funds announced the 2013 recipients of $3.9 million in grants at an event at Lincoln Center. The Funds provide early-career support for five performing and visual artists of exceptional promise, technology and other educational resources for ten underserved public elementary schools, and the entire cost of college for ten high school students who have faced serious challenges and continued to excel.
The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship and School Funds is a three-part, 10-year philanthropic initiative that offers grants and scholarships to students, artists and schools across the nation. Now in its sixth year, the Funds have awarded $12.2 million in grants. The Funds are administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

“The Leonore Annenberg Funds are noteworthy because the programs provide flexible and customized support. The awards are intended to meet important and immediate needs, and the recipients are carefully screened for qualities of leadership and a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ in their life and through their work. Two Scholars who will graduate from college this spring have made an initial two-year commitment to Teach for America, a third Scholar will enter law school to prepare for a career in public interest law, an actor on Broadway is creating a youth company for children living in poverty on the island of Madagascar, a soprano who appears in productions at The Metropolitan Opera and other major opera houses shared her passion with a much younger audience on Sesame Street, and schools in rural America demonstrate how a single grant for education has a significant impact on the entire community. These are some of the ways in which the donor’s values and philanthropic intentions are being realized,” said Gail Levin, Ph.D., director of the program.

The high school juniors, who will receive full tuition, room and board, a living expense stipend, and a book allowance, are:

  • Zachary Egger of Soddy Daisy High School in Soddy Daisy, TN. Zachary is ranked first in his class in high school, a top-tier comprehensive school and is a self-taught computer programmer and coder. He is interested in the field of medicine, especially the chemistry of the brain, and hopes to major in neuroscience.
  • Jennifer Hernandez of the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics in Bronx, NY. She is not only ranked first in her class but her GPA is the second highest in the school’s seven-year history. Jennifer and a schoolmate took first place in an engineering competition sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers and hosted by the Columbia University Chapter of SWE.
  • Payton Kaar of Northeast High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Ranked first in her class of 460 students, Payton won third place at the Broward County Science Fair in 2011 and placed second in 2012. She participated as a speaker at the University of Florida Junior Science, Engineering, and Humanities Symposium to present her research.
  • Jilisa McCullough of J.R. Masterman School in Philadelphia, PA. Jilisa takes a full load of AP classes while maintaining a straight A record. She is a member of Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center’s pre-professional junior company and performs on a regular basis in elder care facilities and elementary schools.
  • Isabelle Morris of H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, FL. She is her school’s first junior to be elected captain of the rowing team. She also scored in the 99th percentile in writing and critical reading on her PSAT exam. She has plans to do research in cognitive psychology.
  • Richard Otis of Rivendell Academy in Bradford, VT. As one of eight children, Richard has many responsibilities at home, including caring for his younger siblings. He has taught Suicide Prevention classes, taken part in the Senate Youth Program, served as the student body representative, and attended the New England Student Leadership Conference.
  • Amanda Stewart of Soddy Daisy High School in Hixson, TN. Amanda has a 4.0 un-weighted GPA and achieved a very impressive composite score on her ACT exam even as she manages a part-time, after-school job and extensive volunteer work in her community.
  • Gina Sullivan of J.R. Masterman School in Philadelphia, PA. Gina attends a magnet school for high achievers which has long maintained the highest public school test scores in the state of Pennsylvania. Gina has taken the maximum allotment for AP courses and still maintains a straight A record. Although she has never physically been outside of the country, she anecdotally “travels abroad” by watching the Travel Channel. She hopes to study several foreign languages and pursue a career in international business.
  • Isabelle Tersio of Boca Raton Community High School in Boca Raton, FL. Isabelle has passed six Advanced Placement exams and is currently enrolled in seven AP courses. She is a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Math Honor Society and the Science Olympiad Team. She would like to become a pediatric surgeon and build a hospital in Haiti, where she was born, as a participant in the organization Doctors Without Borders.
  • Sean Vennett of Jefferson High School in Tampa, FL. Sean has earned thirty-eight merit badges and is on his way to earning the prestigious Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America. At the age of fourteen, Sean lost his father unexpectedly. He has helped his mother to beat cancer and hopes one day to be associated with an organization committed to finding a cure for cancer.

Recipients of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund in the Performing and Visual Arts are:

  • Emalie Savoy is a soprano from Albany, NY. She is completing her official training as a member of the Lindemann Young Artists Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera. She is a recipient of the 2012 Hildegard Behrens Foundation Young Artist Humanitarian Award and is a 2011 George London Foundation Grand Prize recipient. The New York Times lauded her as “the star of the evening” following a 2010 oratorio.
  • Hayley Treider is a graduate (B.F.A. in Acting) of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Represented by Leading Artists, Inc., she has acted in numerous on and off Broadway productions and appeared on the NBC series Law & Order SVU.
  • Korey Jackson is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He performed in a number of school theater productions, including the world premiere of Tony Kushner’s Henry Box Brown Play and made his Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in Colman Domingo’s Wild With Happy.
  • Crystal Gregory is a sculptor from California. She spent several years working as an artist in New York City before moving to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s MFA program in Fiber and Material Studies, where she was awarded the department’s only full merit scholarship.
  • Isabella Boylston is a ballet dancer from Sun Valley, Idaho. In 2007, she was accepted to the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. Her career at ABT has been marked by steady ascension; she joined the Main Company in 2007 and was promoted to Soloist in 2011.

The elementary schools receiving grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children and the resources they plan to acquire are:

  • A.J. Bush Elementary School Houston, TX; classroom libraries, technology and bilingual resources
  • O.A. Fleming Elementary School Freeport, TX; tablets, internet-enabled televisions
  • PS 24K: The Dual Language School for International Studies Brooklyn, NY; musical theater program
  • P.S. 191 K: Paul Robeson Elementary School Brooklyn, NY; dance program
  • D.P. Cooper Elementary School Salters, SC; Google C7 Chromebooks
  • North Mitchell County Elementary School Baconton, GA; school garden and health education
  • Hillcrest Elementary School Chattanooga, TN; new books
  • Bel-Aire Elementary School Miami, FL; full resource science and technology lab
  • Charles R. Drew Elementary Magnet School Pompano Beach. FL; math and science media center
  • John W. Lockhart Elementary Magnet School Tampa, FL; books and reading devices

About the The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship, Fellowship and School Funds: This ten-year program has donated $12.2 million in grants since 2008. The grants are named in honor of the late Leonore Annenberg, Chief of Protocol for President Ronald Reagan and wife of the late Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg. Mrs. Annenberg established the grants to support her lifelong commitment to public service, education, and the arts. The awards come from three endowments: the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund, the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund in the Performing and Visual Arts, and the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children. All grants are made on an invitation-only basis, in consultation with a partner organization. The Funds are a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Visit for more information.