OAKLAND -- Alameda County recognized 35 county high school students, who have been selected as California Arts Scholars by the California State Summer School for the Arts and the CSSSA Foundation.

Keith Carson, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, presented 15 of the 35 students from county District 5 on June 24 with an award medallion with the seal of the state and a commendation from the Board of Supervisors. District 5 includes the cities of Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont and is represented by Carson.

"The California State Summer School for the Arts enhances the overall cultural community of California by engaging youth in creative studies that encourage critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, and leadership while also encouraging youth to pursue higher education opportunities and contribute to the arts field in California," Supervisor Carson said.

The students from District 5 include: Sara Cerami, Theatre (Berkeley); David Dinnie, film/video (Berkeley); Ruby Gizzi, creative writing (Oakland); Nina Gonzalez Silas, dance (Oakland); Elliot Gordon, theatre (Piedmont); Michael Kuroda, visual arts (Piedmont); Madeleine Leibovitch, visual arts (Oakland); Talya Levine, theatre (Berkeley); Madison Lin, film/video (Oakland); Marie Marchant, visual arts (Piedmont); Victor McElhaney, instrumental music (Oakland); Emma Moriconi, visual arts (Berkeley); Ethan Salzman, theatre (Albany); Julia Tucher, theatre (Piedmont); and Margot Witte, visual arts (Piedmont).


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Statewide, there are 500 California Arts Scholars chosen from a pool of more than 1,500 applicants who are considered to be the most outstanding students in the arts. The young people come from all 58 counties and have demonstrated outstanding artistic excellence in animation, creative writing, film, dance, music, theatre and the visual arts. The 2014 session of the California State Summer School for the Arts will be held from July 12 to Aug. 8.

SSSA is a four-week, intensive pre-college program for talented and motivated high school students in the arts, held on the campus of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia. Now in its 28th year, CSSSA offers instruction in seven different artistic disciplines. Students are accepted into this program solely based on artistic potential, and scholarships are provided to all students who depend on the financial support to participate.

CSSSA offers an opportunity for Alameda County students to spend one month immersed in a creative laboratory experiencing the inspiring and rigorous daily life of a professional artist. As a bridge from high school to college, the program offers graduates three units of California State University course credit and names them "California Arts Scholars," which distinguishes CSSSA graduates from their peers as they proceed to college and an arts career.

CSSSA alumni include Hollywood celebrities Zac Efron and James Franco, Pixar animators Mark Walsh and Sanjay Patel, Broadway star Teal Wicks, television stars Katherine McPhee and Kirsten Vangsness, author Margaret Dilloway and many other successful artists and creative leaders.

For the second year of a relaunched partnership, CSSSA has established the CSSSA Arts Scholars Network. The CSSSA Arts Scholars Network is a statewide network of local arts agencies at the county level whose members help CSSSA promote this program opportunity and help to recognize the talented students from their regions. The Alameda County Arts Commission is one of the 13 CSSSA Arts Scholars Network members.

-- Hannah Greene, Supervisor Keith Carson's office