At this week’s Upper School convocation, St. Margaret’s recognized six students who have maintained their dedication to an arts discipline and are committed to pursue this art discipline at the university level for the next four years.
The students have been an integral part of The Arts at St. Margaret’s for many years, in some cases dating back to their time in the Lower School. The students will pursue a variety of majors beginning next school year, ranging from theater to film production to music business at their respective colleges and universities.
“Students we are recognizing today needed to audition or submit portfolios to many of the schools they applied to,” said Upper School theater teacher Daniel Pacheco. “To put this in perspective, they had to be accepted to schools twice. One acceptance was purely academic, for the school as whole. The second acceptance was to the art school within the larger university after portfolio or audition reviews. These auditions and portfolios, much like successful athletic performances, cannot be created overnight. They are the culmination of years of hard work, training, focus, and drive.”
The students recognized were:
Olivia Ostlund, who plans to major in theater at New York University, at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. Olivia was introduced at the ceremony by Mr. Pacheco. She has been awarded first place in the American Protege Vocal Competition and won the Musical Theatre West Footlighters Scholarship Award. According to Mr. Pacheco, Olivia is committed to acting technique, has a love and command of Shakespeare’s text, demonstrates highly skilled vocals, and has worked tirelessly to develop her dance artistry.
Neela Gerayli, who plans to major in film production at Chapman University in Orange, at the prestigious Dodge College of Film & Media Arts. Neela was introduced at the ceremony by St. Margaret’s film teacher Karen Bennett. Ms. Bennett said that the acceptance rate for the Chapman film production program is 7%, and Neela was the very first student accepted for the fall incoming class. Neela’s short film "The Gift of Life" was a Gold Key winner in the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition this year.
Max Page, who plans to major in film and television at Loyola Marymount University and aspires to be a screenwriter. Max was introduced at the ceremony by Ms. Bennett. She said that Max has participated in professional screenwriting competitions through the NYC Midnight organization and taken part in our school film festivals as well as the 48 Hour Film Off and Film Invitational competitive film events through the National Film Festival for Talented Youth and the All American High School Film Festival.
Will Weiss, who plans to major in music industry and history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Will was introduced with remarks prepared by Mr. Carbajal who said that outside of school, Will plays guitar in his band, Whit3 Collar. This past fall, they earned the opportunity to open for Metallica and were featured last week on iTunes’ “The Best New Music” by Shazam. Will was in good company with featured artists such as Camila Cabello, Jack Harlow and Charlie Puth.
Sam Katz, who plans to minor in music industry and history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Sam was introduced with remarks prepared by St. Margaret’s band director Chris Carbajal who shared that Sam produces music, recently releasing his single, For It All, featuring sophomore Sophia Kistler.
Katie James, who plans to major in voice and songwriting within the Jazz and Contemporary School at The New School in New York City. Katie was introduced at the ceremony by St. Margaret’s Director of Choral Music Adela Kwan. Ms. Kwan said that Katie’s vision includes saturating society’s social conscience with art that provokes, inspires, and heals. Her media presence has jump-started her fast-growing, small music business and her online platforms have garnered millions of views.