Talent shines in Walker's Rising Stars scholarship competition

The Pinellas Education Foundation is proud to announce the winners in its annual Walker’s Rising Stars Scholarship Competition. The event was streamed to a virtual audience on May 13 as the 25 finalists shared videos of their performances and displays of the visual and culinary art. The scholarship winners were then presented their awards by Dr. Jeffrey Walker and Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego in a private ceremony at Largo High School.

The Ryan Wells Foundation provided scholarships for the finalists in the Culinary Arts category.

Culinary Arts:
  • 1st place and a $1,500 scholarship: Sarah Burkart, Tarpon Springs High,
  • 2nd place and a $1,000 scholarship: (Tie) Nicolas Boylan, Tarpon Springs High; Ayana Drain-Brinson, Clearwater High
  • 3rd place and a $750 scholarship: Devin Payne, Northeast High
First place winners in the other arts categories each received a $3,000 scholarship.

They were:
  • Dance: Breanna Stevens, Osceola Fundamental High
  • Instrumental: Samantha Kopec (clarinet), Tarpon Springs High
  • Theater: Lexi Stephens, Palm Harbor University High
  • Visual Arts: Joy Chen, Largo High
  • Vocal: Sydney Hilton, Gibbs High
Other scholarships in each category

Dance
  • 2nd place and a $1,500 scholarship: Ashley Kadau, Largo High
  • 3rd place and a $1,000 scholarship: Lauren Townsend, East Lake High
  • 4th place and a $500 scholarship: Maria Tsesmelis, Tarpon Springs High
Instrumental
  • 2nd place and a $1,500 scholarship: Chase Oliveri (clarinet), Tarpon Springs High
  • 3rd place and a $1,000 scholarship: Jonathan Munoz (tenor sax), Gibbs High
  • 4th place and a $500 scholarship: (Tie) Amelia Pemberton (violin), Seminole High; Brian Tran (piano), Lakewood High
Theater
  • 2nd place and a $1,500 scholarship: Darrah Evans, Northeast High
  • 3rd place and a $1,000 scholarship: Zoei Ortega, Palm Harbor University High
  • 4th place and a $500 scholarship: Caitlin Rivera, Osceola Fundamental High
Visual Arts
  • 2nd place and a $1,500 scholarship: Jaden Green, Gibbs High
  • 3rd place and a $1,000 scholarship: Amber Ross, Osceola Fundamental High
  • 4th place and a $500 scholarship: Luna Garcia, East Lake High
Vocal
  • 2nd place and a $1,500 scholarship: Christy Do, Palm Harbor University High
  • 3rd place and a $1,000 scholarship: Liberty Mack, Osceola Fundamental High
  • 4th place and a $500 scholarship: Griffin Collins, Tarpon Springs High
Program and event sponsors included Dr. Jeffrey Walker, Crown Automotive Group, Publix Super Markets Charities, Rowe Architects, Clearwater Gas System, Elisa’s Greatest Wishes, Maurice A. & Thelma P. Rothman Family Foundation, Nielsen, and the Ryan Wells Foundation.

More than 200 juniors and seniors from Pinellas County Schools applied to compete in the seven-month process of auditions and adjudication by panels of arts professionals. More than $800,000 in scholarships have been awarded to Pinellas County Schools arts students since the program’s inception.

For more information on the Walker’s Rising Stars program, visit the Pinellas Education Foundation.

About Pinellas Education Foundation
The Pinellas Education Foundation is a dynamic, nationally recognized non-profit organization that leads the way in advancing public education and student achievement. We are committed to equity -- our belief that every student deserves a high-quality education. Our mission is to accelerate educational achievement for all students through the effective mobilization of innovation, relationships and resources. Our vision is that every student will be prepared for life after high school, whether the choice is to attend college, enter the workforce or obtain technical training. 

 
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