A group of what some may call the ‘brightest and best’ in the country brought their many talents to the John F. Kennedy Center stage.
By Meghan Moriarty
The John F. Kennedy Center held the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts- Performance and Exhibition, Monday June 20, to showcase student’s artwork through dance, theater, music and voice. This year’s host was three-time Emmy award winner, Debbie Allen. The program started back in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to recognize the nation’s brightest high school seniors.
The night began with a pre-performance in the Russian Lounge with 100 VIP guests. Notable attendees included: three-time Tony award winner Hinton Battle, U.S. Presidential Scholars Commission Chairwoman Marina C. McCarthy and President and CEO of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative Meryl Comer.
After the reception, 160 gifted students from all over the country flooded the seats and stage of the Concert Hall. Matthew Pisini, a Scholar from the small town of Cumberland in southern Maine, described the night as “incredible.”
“Every artist was so effective in their medium that I couldn’t count how many times I was left with goosebumps in awe.” Twenty artists entered the stage and each gave a unique performance with a core message. Every act tied together uninterrupted as one performance. Pisini continued by saying, “By the end of the night I wasn’t sure if I was still watching my peers. I kept telling myself ‘these kids can’t be my age.’”
The students received two standing ovations from the 2,000 cheering attendees. It was truly astonishing that these students were only eighteen, and had such incredible talents.