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Updated: Apr 7, 2021

As the year comes to a close, we want to share a retrospective on the recognitions and accomplishments we experienced as a community in 2020. Despite the challenges we faced this year, our students, faculty, school, and alumni continued to display exemplary work which not only received local and national recognition, but also displayed the powerful authenticity and artistry that is so indicative of LACHSA's young artists.

While it is easy to look back on 2020 with many feelings of disappointment, we hope you can join us in shifting our perspective and look back at the many causes of celebration.



#1 Arts High School in the US

School ranking website listed LACHSA as the number one art high school in the United States! Previously, LACHSA was the number one public high school, but this year we surpassed some of the most prestigious private high schools in the U.S. as well!

Arts Schools Network Exemplary School


YoungArts National Competition

YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12. YoungArts winners receive financial awards, creative and professional development experiences working with renowned guest artists, and become eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. YoungArts award winners form a rich network of peers that provides support and opportunities throughout artists’ careers.


Jordan Anderson - Theatre

Nana Ampofo - Visual Arts

Shaman Aponte - Film

Kai Burns - Jazz | Guitar

Kaylah Copeland - Theatre

Tangier Dortch - Film

Chloe Hoffmann - Film

William Lula - Film

Emma Maloney - Theatre

Clementine Smith - Design Arts


Hadley Granger - Voice | Popular Voice

Leilani Patao - Voice | Singer-Songwriter

Monique Ramirez - Voice | Popular Voice

Hazel Sepenuk - Film

Akira Sky - Voice | Jazz Voice

Akira Sky - Voice | Popular Voice


Amelia Aguilar - Voice | Popular Voice

Amelia Aguilar - Voice | Classical Voice/Soprano

Elijah Alexander - Jazz | Composition

Kai Burns - Jazz | Composition

Lemuel Disselkoen Ignacio - Jazz | Guitar

Evan Klein - Theatre

John Lybbert - Jazz | Percussion

Lucas Sterling - Classical Music | Composition

Joshua Wong - Jazz | Composition

Leilani Patao - Voice | Popular Voice

Akira Sky - Voice | Singer-Songwriter


August Wilson Monologue Competition

The August Wilson Monologue Competition is designed to inspire and educate Los Angeles youth using monologues from August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle,” a 10-play cycle that details the complexity of the African American experience in the 20th century. As preparation for the national component of the competition, winner receive master classes to workshop their monologues, as well as scholarship awards.


Kai Andrews

Raphael Fort

McKenzie Franklin

Hailey Lee

Reva Pau

And looking back at the previous August Wilson Monologue Competition, two LACHSA students were selected as Finalists in March!

2019-2020 Finalist

Kyle Branch

Onnie Williams


Music Center Spotlight Awards

Congratulations to our Spotlight Award finalists! Southern California High School students of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply for this competition hosted by the LA Music Center. Spotlight is a scholarship and arts training program, which empowers students by emphasizing preparation, courage, critical thinking and perseverance while providing an invaluable opportunity for students to hone their skills! $100,000 in cash scholarships are awarded each year to students as well as personalized feedback, master classes with world renowned artists, performing arts workshops and more!

Grand Finalists

Evan Klein - Theatre

Estefani Lopez - Classical Voice

Kai Burns - Instrumental Jazz

Amelia Aguilar - Non-Classical Voice


Jordan Anderson - Acting

Jalyn Flowers - Non-Classical Dance

Yael Jeshion-Nelson - Acting

Savea Kagan - Non-Classical Dance

Skylar Lehr-Bryant - Classical Voice

August Macdonald - Acting

Brian Muñoz - Classical Voice

Ethan Remez-Cott - Acting

Alondra Santos - Classical Voice

Laila Stewart - Acting


U.S. Presidential Scholars

The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established to recognize and honor some of our Nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 161 students are named U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the Nation's highest honors for high school students. For the arts component of the Program, students are initially selected based on their artistic ability. Students must participate in YoungArts™, a national program identifying and recognizing young people demonstrating excellence in the arts. YoungArts™, the core program of the National YoungArts Foundation, nominates approximately 60 students who meet the U.S. Presidential Scholars candidacy requirements.

2020 Presidential Scholars

Dusan Brown

Teddy Nissen

2020 Distinguished Teacher

Mr. McClellan


Hollywood Foreign Press Association "Empowering the Next Generation"

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association hosted its online "Empowering the Next Generation" event highlighting 2020 grantees and announcing more than $5.1 million to over 70 nonprofit organizations that nurture the next generation of artists, filmmakers and storytellers, including performances from LACHSA students! The Late Late Show host James Corden hosted the grant recipient celebration and was joined virtually by a slate of celebrities who spotlighted key grant recipients, including Anna Kendrick, Billie Eilish, Eddie Redmayne, Nicole Kidman and Salma Hayek.



LACHSA students receive millions of dollars in scholarships to universities and colleges throughout the country. Here are just a few of our winners:

Cameron Impact Scholar

Congratulations to Arlene Campa who has been selected as a 2021 Cameron Impact Scholar! In earning this honor, Arlene has distinguished herself in the areas of academics, extracurricular achievement, leadership, and service to others. The Cameron Impact Scholarship is awarded annually to 15 high-school seniors. This is a four-year, full-tuition, merit-based to be applied to the recipient’s chosen collegiate institution. Our scholarship is intended for those incomparable individuals who have the ability to make real, tangible contributions to their families, friends, and the greater society.

Association of Los Angeles County Office School Administrators

Fariyan Alam was selected to receive a scholarship from the Association of Los Angeles County Office School Administrators. He, his family and Dr. Vartanian were invited to attend and accept the award at a ceremony (via zoom presentation) on Tuesday, December 15th.


2020 Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge

Leilani Patao was recognized as one of only twelve winners nationwide of the 2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for her original composition, “Mauna Kea." The Songwriting Challenge provides each winner with a two-person coaching team—a mentor and a music director—to hone an original song into a Broadway-ready composition. Each song is then recorded by Broadway musicians and vocalists in New York City, made available on streaming music platforms, and compiled into a songbook by Concord Theatricals.


2020 Next Generation Jazz Festival

The LACHSA Vocal Jazz Ensemble competed in the 2020 Next Generation Jazz Festival and received a runner up recognition in the High School Vocal Ensemble Division!


15th Annual National Youth Awards

In September, our Musical Theatre Department received the results of the 15th Annual National Youth Arts Awards for the 2019-2020 season. LACHSA earned 7 awards and 8 additional nominations!


Lead Performance in a Musical:

Fintan Swift as Jesus of Nazareth in Jesus Christ Superstar

Supporting Performance in a Musical:

Amelia Aguilar as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar

Featured Performance in a Musical:

Kaylah Copeland as King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar


Jesus Christ Superstar

Lighting Design:

Bo Tindell for Jesus Christ Superstar


Erica Robson & Vera Ninkovic for Jesus Christ Superstar


Outstanding Production:

Jesus Christ Superstar

Lead Performance in a Musical:

Leilani Patao as Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar

Featured Performance in a Musical:

Kyle Branch as Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar

Featured Performance in a Musical:

Evan Klein as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar

Featured Performance in a Musical:

Jordan Simen as Simon Zealotes in Jesus Christ Superstar

Costume Design:

Kathie Bretches-Urban for Jesus Christ Superstar

Sound Design:

Jesus Christ Superstar


Erica Robson & Allison Andreas for Jesus Christ Superstar


Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Earlier this year, students received awards for works of art and writing submitted to the Scholastic Awards. Submissions are juried by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Voices & Visions Nominations are celebrated within their communities through local exhibitions and ceremonies. Gold Key works are then judged nationally by an impressive panel of creative–industry experts to receive National Medals. Congratulations!

Gold Keys

Beatrix Begler - Fashion

Katherine Clark - Sculpture

Francesca Fassbender - Mixed Media

Yejin Lee - Fashion

Mila Ryder - Drawing & Illustration, Painting

Miko Sellier - Drawing & Illustration

Theo Taplitz - Printmaking

Janci Zelaya - Printmaking

Silver Keys

Yejin Lee - Painting

Millie Liao - Poetry

Mila Ryder - Drawing & Illustration (6)

Theo Taplitz - Film & Animation, Future New

Janci Zelaya - Drawing & Illustration, Painting (2)

Honorable Mentions

Beatrix Belger - Fashion

Katherine Clark - Sculpture (2), Photography

Yejin Lee - Painting, Sculpture, Mixed Media

Tiffany Louie - Scuplture, Photography

Aine McCauley - Art Portfolio

Mila Ryder - Photography (3)

Miko Sellier - Fashion

Theo Taplitz - Sculpture, Comic Art

Sacha Versavel - Personal Essay & Memoir

Janci Zelaya - Drawing & Illustration, Printmaking



Joseph Paul Gerges: Meet an Artist Monday

Natasha Diamond-Walker: "My Dance Family Tree"

Evan Sagadencky: "Dancing with Ate9"


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