2021 High School Arts Awards

Digital Painting of Art Student Receiving an Award
Founded in 1997 to honor Allied Arts Foundation founder and past president Robert J. Block (1922 -1996), these awards recognize and support excellence in the arts in Seattle high schools. Three awards are given in each of Seattle’s 16 public high schools (48 awards per year) in the genres of Visual, Theatrical, Musical, and Literary Arts.

Awards Committee

  • Carey Page, Chair
  • David Cruse Beal
  • Judy Cruse Beal
  • Kenan Block
  • Patricia Clark
  • Brooks Kolb
  • Lara Lavi

Alan T. Sugiyama High School at South Lake

Alexander Phengphachanh, Grade 11 — Visual & Literary Arts

Photo of Alexander Phengphachanh

“Alex developed a game creating all of the characters and how they fight based on personalities. It is equivalent to constructing a theatrical play with characters and a story line. The product is on Powerpoint and it is amazing. Alex is a gifted artist in mixed media.” — Eve Levasseur, Guidance Counselor

Cupreme Betton, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

Cupreme Betton “Cupreme displays incredible creativity and enthusiasm to create and share images and works in drawing, animation and digital media.” — Eve Levasseur, Guidance Counselor

Infinity Flores-Barillas, Grade 11 — Visual Arts

Infinity Flores-Barillas “Infinity has shared her enthusiasm and skill in visual arts in many of her class projects.” — Eve Levasseur, Guidance Counselor

Ballard High School

Clara Mooney, Grade 12 — Fine Arts

Clara Mooney “Clara is a very talented artist, an over all great student and highly motivated to learn as much as possible in Art. She is a kind and caring student and our department highly recommends her for the Fine Arts.” — Gina O’Neill, Photography Teacher

Al Johnson, Grade 12 — Theatre Arts

Photo of Al Johnson

“Al has served on the Technical Crew of all mainstage productions since his 9th grade year. As a junior he was promoted to Company Stage Manager. He was also voted by his peers to lead our Thespian Troupe as President for the 2020-2021 school year.” — Shawn Riley, Director of Theatre

Mercedes Tucker, Grade 12 — Music

Mercedes Tucker “Mercedes is a drum major in our Marching Band, a clarinet section leader in our Wind Ensemble, and an Alto section leader in our Concert Choir. She is a dedicated, hard-working, selfless leader, who is kind and empowering to those in her midst. Mercedes has an infectious positivity and is resilient in the face of set-backs. She is a life-long learner and lover of music, who can’t wait to join her collegiate marching band!” — Courtney Rowley, Director of Choirs

Chief Sealth International High School

Jonathan Laguna Medina, Grade 12 — Literary Arts

“Jonathan has truly exemplified what it means to be a well-rounded Language Arts student this year. He created an amazing, very nuanced full graphic novel of Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible,” demonstrating an impressive awareness of character development and theme. His writing has been consistent and creative, and his Individual Oral (an assessment for the International Baccalaurate exam) highlighted his strong and accurate understanding of literary techniques, author’s intentions, and style. Jonathan is a thoughtful interpreter of literature and he seems to find joy and engagement in reading almost any text. He has been a joy to teach in Language Arts this year!” — Carolyn Autenrieth, Drawing & Painting and Ceramics Department Head

Leah Golan, Grade 12 — Visual Art

“Leah alternated forms of making art to explore personal/familial connectivity without hierarchy as part of her International Baccalaureate Visual Art course exhibition. Exploring cultural roots and intergenerational relationships, she went outside conventional methods of art making to best externalize these ideas. Her future may include fields of study that intertwine creative thinking but it is evident that her thoughtful approach to any study or art form will continue.” — Carolyn Autenrieth, Drawing & Painting and Ceramics Department Head

Thurston "TJ" Stone, Grade 12 — Visual Art

“TJ completed the International Baccalaureate Visual Art program; I had a chance this weekend to see his immersive space he created for the IB exhibition and was just blown away. Upon further discussion, we talked about the way he has combined ideas of street art, chaos and order in his personal reflection on the pandemic. He plans to study Electrical Engineering but sees himself continuing the pursuit of the arts as well, as a personal pursuit, but also plans to continue to explore the relationship between math and art. He is currently pursuing some Virtual Reality work with this space; I was so impressed with his vision and dedication to the arts in this way.” — Carolyn Autenrieth, Drawing & Painting and Ceramics Department Head

Cleveland STEM High School

Brooklyn Jimeno, Grade 12 — Visual Arts: Photography

Photo of Brooklyn Jimeno “For the past two years, Brooklyn Jimeno has served as a photographer for Cleveland’s journalism program. She has grown in her craft to produce some award-winning photography. Her talent – and her bubbly personality – are unmatched!” — Chloe Kimiai, Counselor

Eleanor Works, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

“Eleanor is a 'true artist'. She has been doing anything art related since she was very young. She's also taken classes to build on her interests and skills, both at Cleveland and outside groups. She explores different materials, techniques, and methods and is open to new experiences. She hopes to attend a design school and is looking at RISD, Otis School of Design, Art Center School of Design, Pratt, and MiCA. She intends to focus on the study of illustration and her long term goal is to illustrate children's books. She is independent and works very hard at her craft - she will succeed. Eleanor is community oriented and has, for the past five years, volunteered at Coyote School, which is a free community arts program for elementary and junior high school students. She has taught classes and served on the Youth Advisory Board.” — Chloe Kimiai, Counselor

Sarah Ernst, Grade 12 — Music

“Sarah Ernst is an incredibly talented student musician. She has been a cornerstone of the music department these last four years and has put forward a lot of effort to learn and get better at playing the cello both in and out of school. We are going to miss her work ethic, leadership skills, and moral support in the years to come but wish her all the best in her future endeavors.” — Chloe Kimiai, Counselor

Franklin High School

Yuki McKenzie, Grade 12 — Visual Art

Yuki McKenzie “Yuki has shown a passionate commitment to artmaking by taking classes every semester, with an incredible work ethic, creative abilities, and natural curiosity. Yuki has additionally been part of the Art of Resistance & Resilience Club for several years, and is single- handedly responsible for several murals around the school.” — Jed Dunkerley, Art Teacher

Frederick Von Brandenfels, Grade 12 — Music

“Frederick has simultaneously been the glue holding students together and the momentum pushing the band forward. This year has been unbelievably difficult for the program, not only because of COVID but also because of the change in directors, and Frederick has been integral in helping to support the needs of his fellow students throughout the transition while coming up with innovative ideas to foster community in an isolating time. I cannot wait to see all that he accomplishes as he moves on to college and beyond!” — Eliza Harris Scruggs, Instrumental Music Instructor

Dev Vasquez Gonzalez, Grade 12 — Performing Arts

Dev Vasquez Gonzalez “Dev has been a star member of the Drama Club and involved in many aspects to help our theater become an inclusive and thriving program. They have been involved in the technical side of theater, helping backstage and online promotions, and this year leading the drama club as their president. Dev is kind, hard working, and reliable. The theater is a better place because of the hard work and dedication they have shown with such care. Thank you, Dev! We are proud to honor you with this Block Award.” — Sara Call, Teacher

Garfield High School

Adenike Adejumobi, Grade 11 — Visual Arts: Drawing

“Nike (Adenike) is innovative in her choice of subject matter and very skilled in execution. Her work is consistently both beautifully crafted and interesting.” — Anita West, Fine Art Instructor

Ryan Tenu Ahn, Grade 12 — Visual Arts: Painting

“Ryan uses his amazing eye for detail and his watercolor painting techniques to render delicate flowers in striking detail.” — Anita West, Fine Art Instructor

Sophia Chrysanthakopoulis, Grade 12 — Visual Arts: Drawing

“Sophia’s art pieces are a combination insight and top quality. She pushes herself to try new approaches and media with excellent results.” — Anita West, Fine Art Instructor

Ingraham High School

Bonnie Ha, Grade 12 — Performing Arts: Theatre

Photo of Bonnie Ha “Bonnie has been a costumer and performer in the theatre program her four years at Ingraham. She has been a leader in costume design and construction, sometimes costuming entire shows with the assistance of her student team. She leads by bringing everyone up and taking pride in the details and the art of making theatre behind the scenes. As a performer, she has grown tremendously in her confidence. She is willing to take risks and to make herself vulnerable. Others look up to her for her dedication, artistry and kindness. She has been a great asset to our community and has changed it for the better.” — Angie Allemand, School Counselor

Wesley Kohashi, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

Wesley Kohashi “During remote ceramics, Wesley continued to put in dedicated time and effort into each one of his ceramic projects. As an advanced student he created multiple works that show his extreme attention to detail and style. He also went above and beyond by glazing his work which was a complicated extra step in remote times. Over the past two years, Wesley has continued to grow and develop his artistic eye. I am excited to see how he uses his creativity in the future!” — Angie Allemand, School Counselor

Mollie McGibbon, Grade 12 — Music

“Mollie is a three-year section leader in Symphonic Band. During that time she has built the clarinets into one of the strongest sections of the band. She continues to be an integral part of the band community, even virtually!” — Angie Allemand, School Counselor

Interagency High School

Samara Jeffrey, Grade 12 — Music

Samara Jeffrey and Kai Spratt “Samara is very much involved in singing in her church choir and as a soloist. She contributed to our school talent show and will be singing a solo at our graduation ceremony. Samara continues to develop her art and talent.” — Savanna Jamerson, Instructor

Kai Spratt, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

“Kai's commitment to visual arts is demonstrated through continued participation in and out of class times. Visual arts projects are exemplary.” — Savanna Jamerson, Instructor

Lincoln High School

Lucy Laybourn, Grade 11 — Visual Arts

Lucy Laybourn “Lucy shows dedication to her visual arts portfolio for our Advanced Placement College level course "2D Studio Art," and has a strong sense of what it means to develop her artistic skills. She works hard and has a passion for a variety of art materials. She pursues art by commissioning paintings in the community, takes various classes, and shows determination with every piece she creates. Lucy also shows versatility within her work including digital art, painting, collage, mixed media, and ceramics.” — Zachariah MacIntyre, Band Director

Theo Pleasure Park, Grade 11 — Music

Theo Pleasure Park “Theo Pleasure Park is an incredibly talented and versatile musician. He is an accomplished drummer and has also been incredibly valuable during remote learning as our audio engineer. Theo is self motivated and always looking for new ways to expand his creativity and opportunities. His passion for music is constantly exhibited through performance and participation. Lincoln High School is proud to have him be a part of our community.” — Zachariah MacIntyre, Band Director

Drew Sherrard, Grade 11 — Theatre

Drew Sherrard “Drew has shown outstanding leadership in the Lincoln High School Theatre Program by serving as Drama Club President and Stage Manager for our first musical production. Drew is an exceptional Theatre student, showing great skill in both acting and technical theatre. Drew has a passion for theatre that shines through in these uncertain times and I am excited to see what Drew will bring to the future of Theatre at Lincoln High School.” — Zachariah MacIntyre, Band Director

Nathan Hale High School

Denali Naylor, Grade 12 — Visual Art

Denali Naylor “Everything about Denali is ART and personal expression through art. I have not yet met a student who exudes this, heart and soul, at her level. She is also a team player, always ready to help ANYONE.” — Erin Shafkind, Visual Arts Department Chair

Camille Pua’a, Grade 12 — Music

Camille Pua’a “Camille is a tremendously intelligent and talented musician with the drive to "make it" in the music world. She has a voice and stage presence that make audiences lean in, and it has earned her Outstanding Soloist Awards at every jazz festival she's performed at since I've taught at Hale. She was accepted to Berklee College of Music with a full ride scholarship next year and plans to pursue singing professionally.” — Erin Shafkind, Visual Arts Department Chair

Helena Goos, Grade 12 — Writing and Visual Art (tie)

Helena Goos “Helena is an all around creative person most notably in the domain of creative writing/poetry, and an incredible human being. She's also a notable artist in ceramics, having taken beginning/advanced courses at Nathan Hale High School and then pursued ceramics at North Seattle College.” — Erin Shafkind, Visual Arts Department Chair

Oxzyana "Zya" Byrne, Grade 12 — Writing and Visual Art (tie)

Zya Byrne “Zya is an artist through and through. Her ability to translate idea to image, connect to others with visual art, and express herself is rare. She’s taken a few visual art classes in her freshman/sophomore years and has pursued making the rest of her time on her own as a student at Nathan Hale High School. She plans to pursue artmaking in course work after high school as well.” — Erin Shafkind, Visual Arts Department Chair

Nova High School

Kabir Kukathas, Grade 12 — Visual Art: Animation

“Kabir’s devotion to the animation arts has led to deep study of the classical motion fundamentals and sharpened his eye for character. His calm attentiveness draws out the levity and humor in his artwork. These are skills he’s honed to cast friends, pets, teachers and mystical beings into his witty and wonderful films and drawings. One of his most memorable projects is a gift he made for a group of animators he befriended at CSSSA, and shows the individual walk cycles that each of his friends has. His generosity and curiosity for the subject has uplifted the animation community at Nova, and surely will in the arts communities he finds in his life.” — Becky Laird, Instructor

Tyler Prosch, Grade 12 — Music

“Tyler has been a dedicated band student and is now composing scores for film. One of his music instructors, Sam Boshnack, says about him: "I was Tyler’s private trumpet teacher from 2016 to 2020. He is both a hard-working student, and a naturally talented musician. He embraced new challenges in his studies and practiced intensely to advance his playing. He has a beautiful tone on the trumpet that is uniquely his own. He is very kind, respectful and easy to work with. For all these reasons, he quickly found lots of opportunities to perform. This active 'gig' life helped to further propel his playing."” — Becky Laird, Instructor

Jha’Quez “JJ” Konick-Seese, Grade 12 — Music

“JJ has been incredibly dedicated to digital music for years now, an interest he first developed through our Foundry 10 partnership, which brings digital audio production to schools. His dedication to making music with and for the Nova community has kept him connected to Nova through many personal challenges. He hopes to pursue a career in music in the future!” — Becky Laird, Instructor

Rainier Beach High School

Elias Welch, Grade 11 — Visual Arts: Ceramics

“Elias has always been a powerful ceramic artist full of creativity. He is also a positive force in the ceramics studio. He is a thinker who comes up with thoughtful ideas and art work.” — Aaron Jefferson, Ceramics Instructor

Arlo Wallis Blonde, Grade 10 — Music: Band

“Arlo has demonstrated unfailing leadership through the trials of online learning. He ALWAYS turns his camera on for class, engages, and encourages younger players. He continued with his study of trumpet privately and entered a solo in the virtual district solo-ensemble contest. Arlo is positive, a hard worker, willing to challenge himself to try new things, and works to improve consistently.” — Kathryn Lenoue, Instructor

Alec Situ, Grade 12 — Performing Arts

“Alec Situ has been nominated for his dedication to the arts and school community through editing the school talent show as well as compiling participant footage for the MultiCultural virtual event (which didn’t happen). His expertise, patience, editing skills, peer management and positive approach to a huge project are admirable!” — Rachel Street, Instructor

Roosevelt High School

Hailey Green, Grade 12 — Visual Arts (tie)

“Hailey’s portfolio demonstrates excellence in her knowledge of visual arts as well as an ability to search with depth and heart into her images, paintings, or sculpture. Through the lenses of the interpersonal she transcends into the universal her joy and beauty. Her work shows great dedication and understanding of the deep connections to art and social constructs. There is a willingness to be an explorer to search and celebrate through her practice of art. She will continue her ongoing focus to study Art at the San Francisco Art Institute in the fall.” — Carrie Richard, School Counselor

Skylar Lin, Grade 12 — Visual Arts (tie)

“Skylar shows great potential and has already demonstrated achievement in photography. He is highly self-motivated and also open to feedback from peers and teacher. Skyler demonstrates 21st Century Skills in his photography with growth mindset and perseverance and “The Arts Reflect Who We Are” is a strong presence in his work.” — Carrie Richard, School Counselor

Brooke Lambert, Grade 12 — Music

“Brooke Lambert has been an active member in many facets of Roosevelt's music program since her freshman year. She has participated in Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Vocal Jazz. Brooke is dedicated to music and has taken private lessons in voice and flute. She has won numerous awards in jazz voice from Jazz Education Network (JEN), Downbeat Magazine, and DeMiero Vocal Jazz Festival. In flute, Brooke has received awards from Music Teachers National Association and Seattle Flute Society Horsfall Competition. This year, she was a winner in the national Young Arts competition. Brooke plans to pursue music at college with a special interest in jazz singing.” — Carrie Richard, School Counselor

Alice Watson, Grade 12 — Theatre

“Alice Watson has exemplified the meaning of a true Thespian: a theatre student who gives more of herself to the project at hand than what’s required, one who overcomes personal challenges and setbacks, has an incredible comedic timing that has the audience laughing even after the curtain closes and consistently models kindness, leadership, and growth-mindset. Alice has been an invaluable player in the Roosevelt Theatre community onstage, behind the scenes, and writing the story. She will be truly missed but her legacy of kindness and hard work will live on in those lucky enough to share our space with her!” — Carrie Richard, School Counselor

Seattle World School

Angel Martinez, Grade 9 — Visual Arts: Drawing & Painting

“Angel is a creative graphic artist who this year has created several beautiful pieces of art, far more than required. He presented the work to his class and was able to explain how he did the work using art vocabulary.” — Lori Leberer, Visual Arts Instructor

Xuan Nhu Tran, Grade 11 — Visual Arts: Drawing & Painting

“Nhu is a dedicated artist who has excelled at producing numerous beautiful artworks, as well as feeling comfortable about presenting her work to her peers. She always does more than is required.” — Lori Leberer, Visual Arts Instructor

Magarsa Ahmed, Grade 9 — Visual Arts: Drawing & Painting

“Magarsa does beautiful prespective drawings of buildings. He works on his art continually and has built a nice portfolio. He is always willing to share his work with others.” — Lori Leberer, Visual Arts Instructor

The Center School

Bayla Cohen-Knott, Grade 10 — Literary Arts

“Bayla spearheaded efforts to bring a literary magazine to The Center School, titled The Nook. she encourages her peers in class to write and share their work. What I think is unique about Bayla is she is genuinely invested in creating communities around literature/writing (wherever she is), and it's not to leverage as a platform for her own work. She seriously sees it as a means of social activism and as a way to bring people together.” — Michele Hayes, School Counselor

Audrey Shuman, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

Photo of Audrey Shuman “Audrey is an exceptional artist whose work demonstrates a strong understanding of the basics of composition, use of color, and visual storytelling. Like so many artists, Audrey is often quiet and demur when it comes to speaking about her own art. Audrey's work does the talking for her. Whether working with digital or traditional tools, Audrey's art evokes the confidence of a mature and thoughtful artist. She embodies so many of the qualities visual arts teachers seek to instill in their students: being a positive influence to others, diligence and dedication to process, and an eagerness to seek out feedback and grow. Audrey is the quintessential artist. Her hunger for art and artmaking is quiet, but the impact and striking visual qualities of her work speak volumes.” — Michele Hayes, School Counselor

Jonas Dodge, Grade 12 — Performing Arts

“Jonas Dodge is a dedicated and talented theater artist. During his time at The Center School, he has shown strong leadership skills, artistic talent, and perseverance. His leadership skills can be seen in his work behind the scenes as the lighting designer and board operator during his junior year. As the head of the lighting crew, he worked collaboratively with guest artist, overcoming challenging situations and limited resources, to deliver a solid lighting design for our winter musical. During his senior year Jonas’s leadership skills shone through as he took on the job of stage manager. As stage manager, Jonas’s ability to problem solve and plan during this unique year of distance learning and COVID-19 has been impressive. Jonas’s artistic talent is not limited to behind the scenes and design work. He's also a talented performer, working with arts organization Penguin Productions as an actor and company member, and as Amos in The Center School’s 2021 virtual performance of Chicago.” — Michele Hayes, School Counselor

West Seattle High School

Helen Schlachter, Grade 12 — Music

“Helen Schlachter has consistently been one of the most dedicated, detail oriented, and strongest role models in the music program the past 4 years. Not only has she been a strong leader in our band program, but she also has been a reliable member of the pit orchestra supporting the combined Drama/Music program spring musical each year. She is kind and supportive when working with her peers and welcoming to our younger students that are new to the program. Helen has been a terrific advocate for the continued growth and development of our program.” — Mallory Neuman, School Counselor

Kelton Hisatomi, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

“I am so delighted to be able to recognize a truly phenomenal and thoughtful individual, Kelton Hisatomi. Kelton is counted highly among the most well written and thoughtful students I have encountered throughout my teaching and academic years, university students included. Across mediums, Kelton is a stellar communicator and brings powerful and important messages into the most minute of assignments. The photographic and graphic artwork produced by Kelton has been well executed and evocative, his artist statements philosophical, poetic, powerful and reflective. It has been such a pleasure to teach and learn from Kelton, and I look very much forward to seeing his future writings and artwork in publications out in the world.” — Mallory Neuman, School Counselor

Nikhil Chhagan, Grade 12 — Visual Arts

“Nikhil has demonstrated a depth of thought in both concept and execution throughout his semester in ceramics this year. He continually surprised me with his reflections on identity and instinct, danger and joy, travel and history, philosophy and coming of age. The juxtaposition of an individual's surface identity and the opaque depth of their quiet internal world was honestly examined in a myraid of ways; in rhinestones on a mask in the style of French fashion icon Maison Margiela, as a gothic era grotesque sculpture, visual storytelling on an Ancient Greek vessel, and through a variety of hand building ceramic techniques. Engaging so honestly in art making while adapting to new learning environments and enduring social upheaval is not a task lightly undertaken and Nikhil went above and beyond consistently.” — Mallory Neuman, School Counselor

The Alice Rooney Award

Founded in 2019, our Alice Rooney Award for Excellence in the Art annually honors one outstanding artist from Ballard High School. This award celebrates the life of Alice Rooney (1926-2019), a longtime leader at Allied Arts Foundation, as well as a prominent arts activist, art school administrator, architectural preservationist, and philanthropic advisor. Her tenacious advocacy for the arts and her good humor are dearly missed in the arts community.

Iris Worrall, Grade 12 — Literary Arts

Iris Worrall “A reader, writer, poet, and President of the school’s literary arts club, Spilled Ink, Iris is a bright, honest, inquisitive, and creative, student who learns for knowledge’s sake.” — Carol Bristol, Ballard High School Counseling Secretary