Danielle Stolz ’15 was one of six people in the nation to be selected as a YoungArts winner in the Cinematic Arts category and has been nominated as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
Stolz’s film, titled “Wings of Peace,” was created when Stolz and 10 other classmates went on a digital storytelling trip to Laos during spring break in 2013. The film centers on the idea of folding origami cranes as a way to promote peace.
“During the trip we saw a lot of tragedy and injustice that our country had inflicted on Laos, but we also saw the resilience and hope the Laotians expressed,” Stolz said. “The idea behind this video was to share that aspect of the Laotians’ story. Over time the video became a lot more personal, and a big aspect of it became the connection between my Japanese heritage and the Laotians, and ultimately about peace and reconciliation.”
To be a Presidential Scholar in the Arts is the highest arts honor that can be given to a graduating high school senior. Nominations are based on students’ academic, civic and artistic achievements.
In order to receive this nomination, Stolz first had to apply for national recognition from the YoungArts Program. Out of thousands of nationally recognized students, Stolz became one of 20 students in the nation selected each year to be Presidential Scholars. Stolz can now attend regional arts programs and attend classes taught by world-renowned artists.
“I had told myself that it was okay if I didn’t get nominated because it was already such an honor to be a YoungArts Finalist and to have attended YoungArts Week in Miami, so when I heard back it was kind of a surreal moment,” Stolz said.