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Mercer County Teens Recognized for Artistic Talents in MCCC Arts Journal


West Windsor, N.J. - Mercer County's high school students had the opportunity to celebrate their creative and artistic talents in a ceremony at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre on April 18.  The event marked the publication of Aspirations 2012, the college's annual publication recognizing the talents of teen writers and artists. 

Fifty-nine writers and 32 artists, a number with multiple submissions, were selected from 10 area high schools. The cover art, a black-and-white photograph of a large tree captured from beneath its towering branches, was taken by 12th grader Alex Morante of Nottingham High School.

The evening opened with a presentation by MCCC Theatre students under the direction of Program Coordinator Jody Person. They created interpretive pieces to accompany selected readings, while artwork featured in Aspirations was displayed on a screen above the Kelsey stage.

“I’m happy to be here and celebrate the talents of these high school students,” said Aspirations Editor Bettina Caluori, an MCCC associate professor of English.  She thanked the teachers for encouraging their students to enter their work and parents for helping foster their children’s talents.  Addressing the students directly, she added, “There’s a lot of evidence here that you are gearing up for your own aspirations.”

Robin Schore, MCCC dean of Liberal Arts, is a long-time supporter of the publication.  He noted that this journal will serve as a reminder to students of their early accomplishments that they can go back and reflect on.  “I want to congratulate you all on writing and creating something on the page that is now lasting,” he said.

Observing that many students in attendance were juniors and seniors, Dr. Schore asked them to consider Mercer as a great place to start their education with its quality programs and affordability.

Also participating in the ceremony was Judy Ehresman, dean of Business and Technology, who coordinated the event.  The winning submissions were selected by area high school teachers and staff at MCCC.

Funding is provided in part through a grant from the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the New Jersey Council on the Arts.

Pictured are Hightstown High School student winners for their art and writing submissions in MCCC’s Aspirations 2012 publication.  They are, from left: Frank Tuzzolino (art), Jessica Pettway (art), Brett Celeze (writing), Nikita Patel (writing), Ryan Kaminski (art), and Niki Khandelwal (art).
Pictured is Lawrence High School tenth grade student winnerNatasha Vargas with her mother, Denise Vargas.
MCCC Theatre students performed interpretive pieces to accompany selected readings from "Aspirations 2012."
Pictured are Hopewell Valley Central High School student winners for their writing and art submissions in MCCC’s Aspirations 2012 publication.

Pictured is Caitlin Petty, a senior at Villa Victoria Academy whose two art pieces were chosen for Aspirations 2012. She is planning to study art in college.

Pictured is Lawrence High School tenth grade student Thomas Ikeda, whose winning poem reflects his passion for baseball.

MCCC Theatre students performing as part of the Aspirations ceremony.


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