After a year hiatus, the Niagara Police Athletic League will honor 34 high school seniors from Niagara County high schools, Kenmore East and Grand Island, at the 11th Art Award Gala at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University.
This event recognizes the students for their accomplishments in 2D Visual Arts, 3D Visual Arts, Digital Arts, Photography, Theater, Instrumental and Vocal Music. Each school will have a winner in each of the seven categories with an overall winner from each group announced at the Art Award Gala. Each student submitted their artwork to be adjudicated or did a live audition for judges from the music field. The submissions were considered on their originality and excellence.
Each student’s work will be on display. Attendance is by invitation, if interested in attending contact Niagara PAL at 286-7038.
Fritz Proctor 2D Art
• Lisbet Lopez Paz, Barker - A participant in modified and varsity soccer throughout the years, Lisbet has also been a member of the Student Council, as well as a representative for her Class of 2021. Lisbet is a member of the Donate Life Club and an active member of her high school concert band. Outside of school Lisbet has volunteered at various organizations such as FoodLink Rochester, Habitat for Humanity and Community Missions in Niagara Falls doing community service. Lisbet plans to attend Buffalo State College and will major in Business Marketing and Computer Information Systems.
• Carissa Hoover, Grand Island - She has been involved in the Grand Island art program since 2015. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been a part of the varsity lacrosse team since 2018. She is a scholar athlete, on the high honor role and has been a student of the month. Carissa will be graduating with honors to attend Lewis University to study graphic design and play lacrosse.
• Kylie Lundrigan, Lewiston-Porter - Her true passion in art lies in capturing the essence of a person through portraiture. Her oil painting, "Eternal," was chosen for the Albright Knox Future Curators Exhibition and is presently on display at Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology. This year Kylie’s painting was named Best in Show at the Daemen WNY All-High Exhibition. Kylie is happiest in the Art Room and a member of Lewiston Porter’s Art Honor Society and Art Club. Kylie was a member of the cross country team in her junior and senior year. Kylie’s future plans are undecided at this time but will certainly follow a creative path.
• Mya Silverheels, Niagara Falls - She won the Seymour H. Knox III Youth of the Year award, she has been awarded three baseball trophies, and most improved award for soccer. She placed eighth in the Niagara County Fair logo contest, “Once Upon a Time in Niagara.” She was third in an indigenous smoke dance competition. She plays varsity lacrosse, takes karate lessons, designed the logo for her aunt’s chocolate strawberry business and is in the Niagara University college program. Mya will start her college career at Fredonia University, major in visual arts and new media and play lacrosse.
• Emily Neiswonger, Niagara Wheatfield - A high honor role student maintaining a 100 average her senior year while holding down a part-time job, she is a member of the National Honor Society and a member and regular volunteer at the Carnegie Art Center. Emily is the recipient of the Audrey Flack Award for our top senior artist and was voted, “Most Artistic,” by her senior class. In addition to art, Emily also enjoyed being a part of the NWHS Outdoor Club and a member for the Girl’s Track team. Emily plans to pursue a double major in Film & Animation/Illustration at SUNY Fredonia.
• Gabriella Colton, Starpoint - She is honored to be recognized for a PAL Art Award for the 2D Visual Art and Instrumental Music categories. She plays several instruments including clarinet and bass clarinet and has performed in four musicals throughout her high school career. Gabriella plays in the High School Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. She has had the honor of participating in the All-Eastern Concert Band, Conference All-State Symphonic Band, Area All State Band, NYSBDA Honor Band and All County. Gabriella’s artwork was showcased at the UB Student Art Show two years in a row as well as at the Kenan Center for the PTA Reflections Art Show. Gabriella is excited to be attending Buffalo State College for Music Education in the fall.
• Anna Seider, Wilson - Her artwork has been represented multiple times in the Wilson Free Library/Sylvia McCuaig Student Art Show where she was recognized with a Merit Award. During her junior year of high school, Anna played an important role in the Empty Bowls fundraiser hosted by the Art Department. She created nearly a dozen unique bowls as well as assisted with open studio hours to help guests create bowls for donation. Anna plans on attending Niagara County Community College to begin her pursuit of a career in psychology.
Lewiston-Porter United Teachers 3D Art
• Sarah Outten, Barker - She has performed with many plays as a youth with her homeschool group along with some traveling groups who put on performances. She also sang with her homeschool group as well as participating in Chorus at Barker. Sarah played basketball, soccer, track, and softball throughout her four years of high school. Sarah will begin her college career at Niagara County Community College with a major in criminology and plans to transfer to a four year college.
• Alexandra Lee, Lewiston-Porter - She has created three total AP portfolios, been a part of the Albright Know exhibition twice, been a part of the future curators program, and won best in drawing twice at the Lewiston-Porter art show. Along with these artistic achievements, she also participated in the 2019 Chalk Walk and has completed commissioned murals. She is also a member of stage crew, being stage manager during her junior year. She is a part of the Art Club, Key Club, National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, and Science Olympiad (where she has earned medals). She has earned a class rank of 4 out of approximately 170 - maintaining high honor roll. Alexandra will be continuing her education at John Hopkins University where she will study neuroscience.
• Hannah Hrotko, Niagara Falls - She has actively been involved in the role of “Student Teacher” at St. Vincent DePaul Parish Center since 2016. She has been interested in creating art since she was 7 years old, and independently creates paintings and does colored pencil studies. In the 9th grade, Hannah began to take a serious interest in working with clay. She comes to Ms. Bley’s classroom two extra periods a day to do the detailed work you can observe in the shared images. Hannah plans on becoming a writer and is considering attending beauty school.
• Jacob Robak, Starpoint - He has always enjoyed art and had an interest in working with clay since elementary school, which has led him to continue to participate in art classes in high school. He’s participated in Studio Art, Drawing & Painting, and Ceramics 1. He has demonstrated a natural affinity with clay and has continued on with Ceramics 2 classes. For Jacob’s senior year he was put into remote learning and was restricted to only a handful of homemade tools with limited assistance. Despite the difficulty of working with clay at home, Jacob continued to improve and expand his creativity, techniques, and craftsmanship. Even with minor setbacks, Jacob has persevered to create his work. Jacob’s future plans are to serve in the U.S. Army.
• Anna Sider, Wilson - See bio for 2D Visual Art
George Ihle State Farm Photography
• Hayden Anello, Lewiston Porter - He has always had a passion for the arts. Whether it be music or fine arts, it’s something he has always gravitated toward. This year he has spent the majority of his time down in the Fine Arts wing to fine tune his photography skills. Hayden had work selected for the Villa Maria Photography Exhibition as well as the District Virtual Art Show. He has been a member of the varsity tennis team since his freshman year. Hayden is looking forward to being inducted into the National Arts Honey Society this June. He plans on attending Point Park University and majoring in Photography.
• Avery Nicoletti, Niagara Falls - He works two part time jobs, has been a varsity soccer player for two years and has worked as videographer and video editor on multiple projects. She has been a skills USA member since 2019 and in the Orleans Niagara BOCES year two culinary program. She placed 4th in the 2020 BOCES culinary competition. Avery is a traveling photographer and will be traveling the country post graduation while documenting her experiences with photos and videos.
• Regan Gellerson, Starpoint - The arts, whether it’s photography or music, have always been a major part of Regan’s life. She loves finding the beauty in the simple things in life and takes inspiration from the wonderful world around her. Regan is a member of several vocal groups, including Matt’s Music Vocal Performance Team and SJCI Swing Choir. She has performed in musical productions both inside and outside of school. Perhaps her biggest accomplishments were singing at Carnegie Hall and winning a National Title in vocals at Starbound in Atlantic City. At Starpoint, she partakes in Concert Choir, the Link Leadership Program and is a member of National Honor Society. Regan will pursue a career in Early Childhood/Childhood Education, beginning with her enrollment at Saint Bonaventure University this fall
Niagara University College Hospitality & Tourism Digital Art
• Morgan Phillips, Barker - She has performed in Mamma Mia and was a participant of her school's choir. Morgan is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She is a member of Yearbook Club, E club and was the president of E club in 11th and 12th grade. Morgan received the George H. Ball Award and an award for her academic achievements throughout her years of middle and high school. Morgan plans to attend SUNY Brockport College and will major in Arts
• Shiela Forbes, Grand Island - She is the treasurer of the Art Club, participated in Art Alive with the Nike Art Studio group and won 3rd place. She volunteers with the Come and Create group at the Nike Art Base, is an AP Art student and has pieces displayed in the Grand Island school art show the past two years. Sheila will attend Niagara County Community College with a major in animation.
• Bailey Giannini, Lewiston-Porter - She has taken a variety of art classes throughout her four years of high school. She helped design her school yearbook, and designed a logo and t-shirt for her school’s Academy of International Business and Finance. Bailey has played soccer, basketball and lacrosse, while keeping up with school and art assignments. Bailey is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society, and has stayed on the High Honor Roll all of high school. She is also a member of Key Club, as well as Art Club, and has helped around both the Lewiston and school community. Bailey plans on attending Ohio University for a BFA in Graphic Design.
• Alexia Graham, Niagara Falls - She is a part of Elly’s Angels, a cheerleader based volunteer program that serves the community. She has volunteered at the Flight 3407 Memorial 5K, Special Olympics, and several Carly’s Club events through out the years. She is also a part of the Community Service Club at school. She has played multiple sports while receiving honors. She has won the National Cheerleaders Association and placed fifth at the Cheerleading Worlds. Alexia plans on attending D’Youville College in the fall, where she received the Presidential Award. She is going for Pre-med in their 5-year program for Anatomy MS and Biology MS.
• Paisley Messer, Starpoint - In the past, she has been an artist of the month and has been doing digital art for several years now. She’s involved in a lot of clubs within school- Model UN, Yearbook, Game Club, Tech Club, Diversity Club, Shakespeare Lives, and Social Studies, Math, and National Honor Society. She is also involved as a costumer in her school's musical. She’s won the Steller Spartan Award for academic achievement, the Star Spartan award, is working towards the Seal of Biliteracy, and has won several awards for Model UN for Best in Committee. Paisley has committed to UB and plans to pursue political science, into law.
• Taylor Mielke, Wilson - He is vice president of the Student Council, a member of the National Honor Society and plays volleyball and softball. She received the Sportsmanship award for volleyball and was the softball MVP. Taylor volunteers at the Ransomville Free Library, is a Girl Scout assistant, a Crew & Director assistant, a yearbook layout editor and a softball coach. She assisted with the pancake breakfast and the team bake sale. Taylor will attend Niagara University for a yet to be decided major.
Starpoint Teachers Association Instrumental Music
• Kaitlyn Goodwin, Barker - She was in the Pit Band for the school musical (Addams Family), is a member of the school band, chorus and jazz band. She has been in Niagara All-County band twice, and have tried out for Area All-State twice. Kaitlyn will be inducted into the National Honor Society this year. She plans to major in Library Science and English at a college yet to be determined.
• Madison Manzella, Kenmore East - She has been a member of the all county, area all state, and conference all state bands. She has been a section leader of our top ensemble throughout high school, and is an exceptional young lady. Perhaps her most outstanding accomplishment has been winning a spot in the World Strides honor band which performed in Sydney, Australia. Madison will graduate as one of the most accomplished musicians to graduate from Kenmore East High School. She is a member of the National, Tri-M Music and Spanish Honor Societies. Madison will attend Niagara University for Adolescent Education.
• Sam Marod, Lewiston-Porter - She has performed in Lewiston’s production of Into the Woods, The Addams Family and in the ensemble of Mamma Mia. She has participated in Niagara All-County and Area All State auditions, Niagara County Orchestra, Area All State Orchestra, All County Band, Chamber Orchestra, Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra and the schools jazz band and orchestra. Sam has participated in several volunteer opportunities playing Christmas music in nursing homes. She is a member of the Art and Ski Clubs and has had a painting displayed in the Future Curators exhibition, had art work displayed in the Niagara County Art Show and won best photograph in the Annual All-High Exhibition. Sam plans to attend Niagara County Community College for their animation program.
• Nicholas Kleinhans, Lockport - He has plans in the future to attend SUNY Fredonia for Music Education. He is so grateful to have this opportunity. Nick has been quite active on stage in the past. He was a part of The King and I Jr. (Louis), Alice and wonderland Jr. (the White Rabbit), Seussical Jr. (the Cat in the hat) , and Beauty and the Beast Jr.(the Beast), as well as Billy Elliot (Michael), Scrooge the musical( Tiny Tim), and most recently Godspell (Jesus). He has also been a part of many music ensembles throughout his high school career. He has been a part of All county chorus and band all four years, Area all state chorus and band, and Conference all state Wind Ensemble 2020, and takes part in student led chamber ensembles in his community.
• Briana Rafferty, Niagara Falls - She has performed in a multitude of instrumental ensembles during high school including Niagara County All-County Band, Area All-State Band. During her two years at Brockport High School she was a member of five band, orchestral, and jazz ensembles as well as the pit orchestra for Shrek the Musical and marching band. During her time at Niagara Falls High School she has been a member of both bands, Jazz Ensemble, Marching and Pep Band, the Pit Orchestra for the Wiz, and the NFHS Band Mentor Program. She also composes pieces with one receiving honorable mention by NYSSMA for her piece”Soft Lights.” Briana also participates in the high school wind ensemble during the summer at Eastman School of Music. She is a member of the Youth Court and Donate to Life Club. She will begin her college experience at Buffalo State and major in Music Education.
• Miranda Wolter, Royalton Hartland - She is a current member of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra and of Buffalo Suzuki Strings’ Advanced Ensemble. She has participated in Area All-States, All Counties, reading orchestras at Eastman’s Summer programs, fiddling groups, and her high school orchestra. Miranda has studied violin since 2015 with Buffalo Suzuki Strings, since adding private lessons with Mrs. DeAnn Letourneau. At school Miranda is in advanced classes including college level Music Theory. She is currently editor of the yearbook, vice president of the National Honor Society, and president of the orchestra. Outside of school and rehearsals she loves to volunteer with early intervention children on the autism spectrum and being a practice partner for younger violinists. Miranda will be attending Belmont University for a major in music education
• Gabrielle Colton, Starpoint - See bio for 2D Visual Art
Niagara Orleans BOCES Culinary Arts Vocal Music
• Elinore Voss, Barker - She has performed as a member of the Area All-State mixed Choir and the Niagara County All-County choir, concert and jazz band. She is also a performer in her school’s jazz and concert bands as well as in choir, chamber choir, and musical theater. Outside of music, she participates in Barker’s International Club, AFS Club, track and field, and cross country, where she was an Honorable Mention All WNY scholar athlete. Elinore is a member of the National Honor Society and is recognized as the Valedictorian of her graduating class. She plans on attending SUNY Geneso in the fall to major in international relations.
• Isabella Guerrucci, Lewiston-Porter - She is a member of Women’s Choir where she was awarded the Outstanding Freshmen, Sophomore and Junior Awards, and plays the violin in orchestra. She has also participated in Vocal Jazz, Notoriety, the Musicals and Drama Club. Isabella was accepted into the Niagara All-County Choir and Orchestra, and the Area All-State Mixed and Treble Choirs. She is also a member of the LNN (Morning Announcements Crew) and Key Club where she was awarded the Youth Recognition Award from the New York State Senate. Outside of school, Isabella dances and assists at Adell’s School of Dance. She also performs locally with the Greater Niagara Ballet Company and Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Isabella plans on attending the University at Buffalo to obtain a Fine Arts Degree in Dance.
• Emma Cook, Niagara Falls - She is a member of the Concert and Jazz Choirs, Area All State and All-County selection and has participated in three musicals. She was the lead in a play, plays the French horn, is a class officer and in the National Honor Society. She is a Cadet Chief Master Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol and plays varsity soccer. Emma will attend Niagara University and major in Theatre and Environmental Science.
• Carter Converse, Starpoint - He has been studying music for 10 years and has studied vocal technique since sixth grade. He has participated in the Niagara County All-County Choir, Area All-State Mixed Choir, and Conference All State Mixed Choir. He also takes part in the school’s Concert Choir, Senior High Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Acapella Club, musical club, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Carter will begin his college career at the State University of New York at Fredonia and will major in Music Education.
• Addison Selbert, Wilson - She has performed in several of her school’s musical productions, including Annie, Legally Blonde, The Lion King (played a lead), The Addams Family (played a lead), Bye Bye Birdie, and Shrek (played a lead). Addison was a participant in both Niagara county All-County, and All-State. She has also been a member of her school’s band and ensemble throughout her time in high school. Addison has been her class’s secretary since ninth grade, and was also the treasurer of Drama Club for two years. Additionally, Addison is a member of the National Honor Society. Addison will be attending SUNY Oswego, where she will major in adolescent education with a concentration in Chemistry. She will also be minoring in music.
Niagara Orleans BOCES Culinary Arts Theater
• Joseph Cantella, Barker - He is a member of the Chamber Choir, Jazz Band was the lead as Gomez Addams (Addams Family), Bill (Momma Mia), Elijah Whitney (Anything Goes.) He is the recipient of the Fred Warring Conductors Award. Joseph will attend SUNY Polytechnic Institute for electrical engineering.
• Isabella Guerrucci, Lewiston-Porter – See bio for Vocal
• Julia Pitarresi, Niagara Falls - She has played a vast array of roles, most notably playing Helen Keller in NFHS’ production of The Miracle Worker. She has received the NYSTEA Award for excellence in theatre, as well as the 2021 NFHS Thespie Award. The President of her school’s choir and a member of the Jazz Choir since freshman year, Julia has performed in the Niagara All-County Choir & Jazz Choir and Conference All-State Treble Choir, several times attaining a perfect score of 100 in auditions. She plays the flute in her school’s marching, pep, and symphonic bands and is a theatre intern. Julia is a high honors student and a member of the National Honor Society. In the fall, Julia plans on attending University of Buffalo, majoring in Theatre Performance.
• Sabrina Nicosia, Starpoint - She has performed in Mary Poppins, 42nd Street, the Little Mermaid (twice), has tap danced for ten years and ballet for five. She was a participant in All County Choir, All State Choir, the Kenny Awards, and Starring Buffalo’s performance of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. She is in the National, Social Studies, and Math Honor Societies at her school, with high honors, is a recipient of the Star Spartan Award, Niagara County/PAL Do The Right Thing Award, and is a Western New York Scholar Athlete. Sabrina is a member of Musical Club, varsity cross country, Link Crew, Donate Life, and Honors Choir. Sabrina is attending Fredonia College with majors in Theater/Acting and Psychology. She plans to transfer to the Disney College program.
• Addison Selbert, Wilson - See bio for Vocal