YoungArts winners announced for 2020 school year

Sarah Mittleman

The YoungArts Foundation awarded 10 students Tuesday for their accomplishments in music, photography, writing, visual arts and singing.

10 artists, writers and musicians receive awards

The annual YoungArts competition awards artistically talented high school students and grants them the opportunity to attend regional programs to continue developing their craft. Though approximately 7,000 10-12th graders applied this year, only 686 students won. The foundation invites merit and honorable mention winners to regional programs, while finalists are invited to National YoungArts Week, a program that offers masterclasses and in-person evaluations.

During the week, finalists will be evaluated; students can receive up to $10,000, and all winners receive the opportunity to attend regional programs later on.

This year, the school boasts five finalists, two honorable mentions and three merit winners.

Winners react to the announcement

Jake Schroeder ’20 said he was in physics class when he found out he received an honorable mention.

“My mind was fully immersed in electric potential and energy,” he said. “I could barely even process how big of a deal it was and completely disregarded the email [at first].”

He said that rather than filming a monologue for theater as he had initially planned, he decided to apply for the Voice category.

“Pop voice presented a much easier application to me, requiring the submission of four songs recorded in any location,” he said. “I was floored when I placed. I don’t even sing pop – I guess I do now!”

 Artists look forward to attending regional and national programs

Chiemeka Offor ’21, a finalist for photography, said she was initially nervous to apply.

“I received a merit award for photography [last year], so I decided to reapply this year to see if I would be placed as a finalist,” Offor said. “I second-guessed my portfolio a lot when I was going through the application process, so I wasn’t sure if the judges would like it.”

Offor said she is excited to attend National YoungArts week in 2020 to work with other photographers like herself.

“I am looking forward to meeting other passionate young artists and hopefully pushing myself out of my comfort zone to experiment more with photography and visual art in general,” she said.

All YoungArts winners become part of a network of over 20,000 alumni who get head starts on their careers through microgrants, performance opportunities and corporate partnerships.


Classical Music: Jane Meenaghan ’20 | Composition

Photography: Caitlin Chung ’20

Photography: Chiemeka Offor ’21

Photography: Santiago Salazar ’21

Visual Arts: Oscar Montanez Garay ’20

Honorable Mentions:

Photography: Abe Kaye ’20

Voice: Jake Schroeder ’20 | Popular

Merit Winners:

Photography: Penelope Juarez ’21

Writing: Hannah Han ’21 | Short Story

Writing: Andrea Yagher ’20 | Play or Script