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TOWSON, MD—Singer/songwriter Sophia Bryter (Paffenback) and photographer Britney Simbana-J, seniors at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, have been named two of 60 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates as part of the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were nominated from thousands of participants in the annual YoungArts competition.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas, including academic success, leadership, community service, the arts, and career and technical fields. Annually up to 162 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class.
The 60 arts candidates were selected for their exceptional performances in the disciplines of dance, film/video, instrumental music, jazz, voice, photography, theater, visual arts, design, and creative writing. Further consideration will be based on students’ essays, self-assessments, description of activities, school recommendations, and school transcripts. Of the 60 candidates, up to 20 will be selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the Presidential Scholars in May, and winners will receive Presidential Scholars Medallions during a National Recognition Program.
Another honor for Simbana-J
Simbana-J (pictured at right above) also just earned first place in the Drexel University High School Photography Contest. She has received a $500 prize for her “Your Landscapers” photograph. The award-winning photograph and another Simbana-J photograph, “Hermanos de las Primera Generacion,” will be displayed in Drexel’s photography gallery from Saturday, February 4, through Wednesday, March 1. The Photography Gallery is located on the fourth floor of the Academic Building (101 North 33rd St., Philadelphia). An opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 4, from 2 – 4 p.m.
Drexel’s photography contest is coordinated by its Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and is open to high school students across the nation. This year, 532 students entered the contest, submitting up to three images each. Of those students, 116 were selected to be in the show with a total of 120 artworks. Simbana-J is one of only four students who had two photographs selected for the show.