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Leonore Annenberg scholarship program announces new award recipients

The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship and School Funds, a three-part, 10-year philanthropic initiative that offers grants and scholarships to students, artists and schools across the nation, today announced $2.5 million dollars of commitment to the education of five students from Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, and rural Vermont; four performing and visual artists from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and eight public elementary schools in Houston, Texas, Bronx, N.Y., Brooklyn, N.Y., Summerton, S.C., Philadelphia, Pa., and Miami, Fla.

The awards focus on successful high school juniors who have faced serious challenges, exceptional young artists, and public elementary schools lacking essential resources for their students.

Now in its second year, the scholarship program reflects the late Leonore Annenberg’s lifelong commitment to public service, education and the arts, and her unparalleled efforts to improve the lives of the nation’s youth. “These awards provide opportunities for artistic growth and educational advancement to beneficiaries whose contributions will strengthen American cultural life and enrich our democracy. Their conduct and body of work will serve as a constant reminder of Leonore Annenberg’s generosity and high standards,” said Gail Levin, director of the program.

This year, the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund will award all-expense scholarships to five students from Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, and rural Vermont:

  • Faith Zeng, a junior at the Boston Latin School who is recognized for her artistic prowess, model citizenship, and adeptness at balancing a demanding college preparatory curriculum, numerous extracurricular activities, and her role as a mentor to younger students in a local volunteer program.
  • Camila Diaz, who has overcome physical adversity to rise to the rank of third in her junior class of 116 at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics, who attends the SEO (Scholars for Advanced Opportunity) academic enrichment program in Manhattan, and is described as a truly gifted student and inspiring role model.
  • Asdy Wan, a junior at the Masterman School in Philadelphia, an exceptional student recognized by school personnel for well-roundedness and love of learning, Asdy’s math teacher wrote that “Her integrity is above reproach, her service record exemplary, and her academic record is outstanding.”
  • Juan Hernandez, a junior at J. H. Reagan High School in Houston, Texas, a gifted writer whose tremendous work ethic fuels both his academic achievement and his dedication to volunteering to help local homeless individuals and children at risk of dropping out of school.
  •  Lydia Ducharme, a junior at Hazen Union School in Hardwick, Vt., an accomplished student and varsity athlete whose foreign language teacher wrote, “She talks of possibly becoming a high school chemistry teacher, and I can think of no better role model to put before the next generation of learners.”

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

  • Constance Stamatiou, a remarkable ballet dancer and performer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who aspires to direct her own dance or repertory company and make dance training available to children in economically disadvantaged communities.
  • Caleb Burhans, of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, a composer, countertenor, and multi-instrumentalist of whom the Dean of Eastman wrote, “Beyond his obviously abundant musical ability, Caleb is on the cusp of greatness as a musical innovator and entrepreneur.”
  • Ángel Otero, who moved to the U.S. from his native Bayamón, Puerto Rico, in 2005 to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and whose striking, colorful paintings are receiving increased attention regionally and in the international arts community.
  • Jonathan Martin, a theater artist at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts whose acting teacher wrote of his recent performances, “With an imaginative mind and an empathetic heart, he effortlessly transported these audiences out of their world and into the world of each play. That is an artist.”

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

  • David G. Burnet Elementary School, Houston, TX; Multimedia technology
  • Spring Branch Elementary School, Houston, TX; Interactive science laboratory
  • CS 300 X: The School of Learning and Applied Science, Bronx, NY; Music program
  • PS 123 K: The Suydam School, Brooklyn, NY; Arts/Media Center
  • St. Paul Elementary School, Summerton, SC; Computer-based math programs
  • Summerton Early Childhood Center, Summerton, SC; Computer-based math programs; afterschool program
  • General John F. Reynolds Elementary School, Philadelphia, PA; Computer equipment for 19 classrooms
  • Lorah Park Elementary School, Miami, FL; Science Laboratory and Greenhouse