2021-2022 Rising Stars - Ronald McDonald House Charlottesville
Arthur C. Greene Rising Star Awards
Abbey Ellerglick Voice, Guitar, Songwriting
Meet Abbey Ellerglick of The Renaissance School:
Abbey comes from a musical family and has been singing, playing guitar and piano with her family for as long as she can remember. Mostly self-taught, Abbey always has a thirst to know more about music and constantly wants to get better at her craft. While Abbey's talents are evident in her songwriting and performing, she is learning how to produce, engineer, and mix her recording sessions on her own with the use of various programs.
Why I believe Abbey deserves the Rising Star award, isn't solely based on her talents as a musician, but it is her kindness and caring heart as an overall human being that makes her a true star. She has no ego with her music but uses it to connect with her fellow musician friends as well as everyone else she comes into contact with. Her latest song "Better Than This" is nostalgically written for her classmates which has helped them heal and feel connected during this strange pandemic year. To put it simply, Abbey and her music are like the musical glue holding her friends together.
Abbey's commitment to music and the arts beyond high school is so strong and is truly a big part of her as a person and makes her a Rising Star.
Carissa Jackson Visual Arts
Meet Carissa Jackson of Western Albemarle High School:
We are proud to nominate Carissa Jackson as our Visual Arts Rising Star. Carissa has been part of the WAHS Visual Art program since 9th grade, and she is a Fine Arts Pathway student here at WAHS. Carissa has taken many art classes, including Art 1-3, PVCC Dual Enrollment Drawing, AP Studio Art, AP Art History. In each course, she excels showing her passion, talent, and interest in personal growth.
In addition to her courses, Carissa has already made her mark personally in our community through her artwork. She designed and painted a mural at UVA Hospital, working alongside artist Anna DeMio Dowen. This mural is in the UVA Breast Care Center, and shows Virginia landscapes. She is currently working on a private commission where she is designing and painting a mural depicting Venice.
Carissa plans to continue her interest and passion in art by studying graphic design in college. We look forward to her continued success in Visual Arts in the future, she is a Rising Star.
Casey Lockledge Choir, Drama, Visual Arts
Meet Casey Lockledge of Western Albemarle High School:
Casey has been involved in all three disciplines; Choir, Drama, and Visual Arts, during her time at WAHS, and has shown creativity, dedication, and enthusiasm for all these areas.
Casey has been in Choir for all 4 years of high school, and she has shared her enthusiasm and dedication with her classmates. Casey is an alto singer, and she loves musical theater and pop. One of her favorite memories from Choir is singing, “Mary did you know?” with her classmates.
Casey has been involved with the Drama Department for all four years of high school. She has acted in shows, assistant directed several shows, designed the set of our musicals and plays, and also designed the publicity posters and t-shirts for our shows. She is a gifted artist and she has brought so much inspiration to so many elements of our theatre productions. Casey has a passion for all things theatre which motivates her to put her whole heart and energy into the beautiful, creative work she does.
In Visual Arts Casey has taken Art 1 & 2, Dual Enrollment Drawing, and she is currently in AP Art Portfolio. Her Sustained Investigation topic explores performing arts and artists in two dimensional, visual media. She loves printmaking, and created a wonderful series of prints during online learning. She is expert with using color to show emotion as well as to depict her subjects accurately and expressively. She is exceptionally talented in the areas of watercolor painting and observational realism using graphite. All of Casey's talents make her a wonderful Rising Star.
Mason Rothenberger Band
Meet Mason Rothenberger of WAHS:
Mason is a true leader. She plays flute in the Western Albemarle High School Band, is the section leader of the flutes, and is also one of two drum majors in the WAHS Marching Band. She is a well-respected musician with her peers and teachers and works incredibly hard to push her fellow students to become better musicians.
Mason has been selected to the Albemarle County Honor Band and also All-District Band every year. This past year she was selected as the 1st flute player in the District, which enabled her to audition for All-Virginia Band. She has been a member of YOCVA flute choir, performs regularly at local recitals including the Wednesday Music Club Winter recital, and was also a member of the pit orchestra for Western Albemarle’s productions of “The Sound of Music” and “The Addams Family.”
What makes Mason an exceptional talent is her leadership ability and musicianship. She often runs rehearsals and helps students with their part. While she is one of the hardest working musicians in the school, she is also very patient, enthusiastic, and kind. She helps makes everyone around her a better person, and her a Rising Star.
Victor Romanko Art
Meet Victor Romanko of Albemarle High School:
Victor is the President of AHS NAHS and is a superb artist. He is extremely creative and is creating art every time I see him. He often starts trends in the art room. For example he will start drawing on the whiteboard little characters; then students from other classes will add on to them. In his classes he is super friendly and helpful to everyone around him. He is currently taking AP art in an Art 2 section, but engages with the art 2 students as if they art taking AP with him. His excitement in all that is art is inspiring and contagious.
Where he really stands out, though, is as the president of the Art Honor Society. Last year he was Vice President, learning the ropes and initiating activities such as "art alongs'" and artist talks for the members...via online due to COVID. He worked well with the other members of the leadership for NAHS and his energy made the meetings informative as well as fun.
This year, as President, he has kicked off the year with energy that draws members to him and his ideas. Before the school year even truly began, he was having conversations with me about what has been done in the past, what materials the group currently has, and what might be possible this year. Even though it is early on at this point, and no official meetings have occurred, he has lead a membership drive AND is coordinating homecoming representation for the NAHS. His leadership had the students energized and ready to participate by encouraging them to use their ideas and creativity to accomplish the tasks ahead.
Victor is creative, kind and a strong leader that draws people to him. His passion and energy to include others in creative endeavors makes him an ideal Rising Star.
Delaynie Myhre Art, Drama
Meet Delaynie Myhre of Regent School of Charlottesville:
Delaynie is an incredible artist and actress. Although I can only specifically speak for her artistic talent, she performed in a play last year for our school as the lead and carried herself with pose and excellence. I couldn’t’ believe it was the first time she had performed in a play, she delivered her lines with grace and confidence, and had an outstanding performance.
As an artist, Delaynie has natural talent. I have taught her for four years in high school. I have been impressed with her creativity. When she is given an assignment in art, the way she is able to process creative ideas to come up with such original, out of the box designs, it has been inspiring to watch this skill bloom. She takes every assignment and makes it original, unique, and is able to take a theme and express her ideas and give a voice to her design and thoughts.
Another artistic skill that she exemplifies is how well she works with a variety of mediums. She is able to manipulate the mediums to enhance the aesthetics of the art project. For example she is able to draw a sphere using charcoal and create a simple yet incredible drawing by creating depth with the medium. She excels in this skill and approaches each project with confidence and innovation. She is very methodical about her work and is very self motivated as a student.
After graduating from high school Delaynie wants to further her education and study medicine. She has a passion for helping others and serving in the mission field. She has had many opportunities to travel to other countries and serve overseas with several mission organizations. I look forward to see how Delaynie uses her artistic talent in the future. It has been a joy to teach such a young, inspiring artist, she is a Rising Star.
Christina Rowe-Cooper Theatre, Music
Meet Christina Rowe-Cooper of Monticello High School: Tina is an outstanding student who has had a good deal of experience with theatre, having worked with DMR and Empowered Players. She is a talented actress, but it is her voice that gives people chills. Her voice is so soulful that if you close your eyes you might hear a gospel/R and B professional.
You definitely want her talent in your virtual presentation. She is so humble and truly a team player, everyone loves her. All of these attributes make Christina a Rising Star.
Calvin Kellams Theater, Music
Meet Calvin Kellams of Monticello High School:
Calvin comes from an extraordinarily musical family. His entire family has always sung and played music together. Calvin performs weekly at our outdoor Courtyard Collective and makes wonderful music that he then posts on social media. He is also an outstanding student taking the most rigorous classes offered. Calvin has been in my class for four years and has become an influential mentor to the underclassmen in our world. For all of these reasons, and many more, Calvin is a Rising Star.
Amna Nilamdeen Orchestra
Meet Amna Nilamdeen of Albemarle High School:
Amna has been a member of the orchestra at Albemarle High School for four years. In that time, she has shown great drive and spirit and is seen as a leader among her peers. Amna has excellent organizational skills and is a serious student. Her greatest strengths are her kind, generous spirit, and her high academic standards. She is warm and welcoming to everyone she meets and is a true friend to all.
Amna is a respected member of the Albemarle High School String Ensemble and the Tri-M Honor Society. Outside of music, she participates in the Science and National Honor Societies and has been president of the Health Occupations Students of America. She has also been recognized as a Girls Who Code alumni. Amna is a Rising Star.
Sam Rowley Art, Photography, Digital Media
Meet Sam Rowley of Albemarle High School:
Sam is an exceptional artist and art student. She is enrolled in 3 art classes this year: Photography 3, Digital Imaging 2, and AP Art. Her dedication to the arts is evidenced by the superb quality of her work, as well as the inordinate amount of time she spends working on her pieces of various media in our department, and outside of school in her own time.
Sam is a member of the National Art Honor Society, as well as a team leader in all of her classes. Her classmates look to her for guidance and inspiration. Sam works very well in collaborative situations in the classroom and is a Rising Star.
Olivia Cogswell Theater, Choir
Meet Olivia Cogswell of Albemarle High School:
Ms. Cogswell’s extraordinary talent, empathetic spirit, insightful experiences, and unfaltering courage make her an exceptional candidate for the Rising Star Youth Incentive Award. She volunteers her time to assist students with their coursework and offers advice in their writing and revision. As a leader, she is involved as an upper editor for the school’s literary/art magazine, aids in workshops at journalism conventions, is a much sought after tutor in the school’s peer tutoring program, pursues intense studies in the AHS Arts and Letters Pathways program, and has brought much success to our forensics team due to her work in the original oratory category.
Olivia writes constantly whether completing an English assignment or pursuing her own creative endeavors such as short fiction, poetry, novel writing, and character building. She often volunteers to lead projects and perform various tasks for clubs and finishes everything she begins.
For a number of years, Ms. Cogswell has been participating in the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, a cause near and dear to her and her entire family. Not only does she raise money for pediatric cancer patients, she also shaves her head to bring attention to the cause.
As a talented writer, Ms. Cogswell’s writing has been published in the school’s literary art magazine and she dedicates her free time to writing. She intends to pursue creative writing as a major in a liberal arts university that has a notable writing program. Olivia is a Rising Star.
Julia Bailey Digital Art, Illustration
Meet Julia Bailey of Charlottesville High School:
Julia is one of those rare students that is excited by both the creation and the challenge. One of the creations and challenges that sticks out most to me was Julia’s submission into the TomTom Festival's city art bus contest. This is a national contest open to all artists and the winner received a stipend and their bus design is put on an actual city bus. Julia created a witty and whimsical design that featured cats interacting thoughtfully within and on the bus. Not only was this a huge honor for Julia, but also a boost in her confidence that catapulted her art making to another level.
Julia’s art took off at this point. She challenged herself in and outside of the classroom to become a deeper, higher-thinking artist, taking on projects such as animation, public art animation forums, and art fights, which are online based challenges featuring character design. I began giving her projects separate from her peers because she expressed the drive to excel independently. She wanted to grow, thrive, and be pushed to new levels.
Julia is currently enrolled in an Independent Digital Art Study , where she is exploring themes in art centered around big ideas. One of her goals is to create a graphic novel and a series of related art works. I am thrilled to have her for one more year, as she has enriched my life and those that get the chance to create art with her. I am recommending Julia because I deeply believe she will meet many successes in the future. Her character, insight, and skill are assets and she will thrive given the chance to be challenged both artistically and personally; Julia is a Rising Star.
Dylan Stukenberg Orchestra, Choir, Theatre, Dance
Meet Dylan Stukenburg of Charlottesville High School:
Dylan is one of the most gifted and accomplished cellists with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working. He plays with gorgeous, full tone, superb intonation, and mature phrasing. His rhythm is impeccable, and he sight reads difficult music nearly flawlessly. Dylan exhibits the kind of discipline, maturity, and work ethic expected of professional musicians. He masters complex material quickly and seemingly with great ease. He clearly loves the stage and is absolutely captivating in performance.
Dylan is also a talented and accomplished actor, dancer and singer. He studies piano, voice, dance (ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop, and lyrical/contemporary), as well as cello. He studies dance at the Orange School of Peforming Arts and spends 4 evenings a week there as well as all
weekend rehearsing with his dance competition group. This past summer, he auditioned and was accepted at the Southeastern Summer Institute for the lead male role (Bobby Child) in Crazy For You.
Dylan was awarded the title for the top male dance competitor (Mr. Starpower) in the advanced age group at the Starpower dance competition this Spring at Virginia Beach, and reached the Finals in the same age group at Dreammaker Dance Nationals.
Dylan is a curious and receptive student, and is always hungry for feedback. He is a natural leader, always encouraging others to participate in extracurricular musical activities. He is a Rising Star.
Cole Lyman Music, Theatre
Meet Cole Lyman of Charlottesville High School: Cole is an obvious choice for me as a rising star nomination due to his natural talent and passion.
Cole participates in the band program through the marching band and in the jazz band. Cole truly is a rising star as a musician. He is naturally talented, passionate about music, and works hard to become even better. His talent as a jazz pianist is undeniable, and he really has something special as a high school student. We have always leaned on Cole and his improv abilities. His sophomore year we played a Count Bassie chart, and decided to not only let him solo, but let him open the entire piece.
Cole is also currently a part of a jazz combo that meets on Friday mornings. This group meets because they love to play jazz together and make music. Cole’s abilities are on display in this group as well as he often has solos with the two saxophonists.
Finally, Cole decided to join the marching band again for his senior year. While many students are opting to free up time in their class schedule Cole embraced the busy schedule that is marching band and is our lead synth in an 80’s inspired marching show. He functions as musical anchor for the entire section as they listen to him for musical cues and he will audibly count if a musician gets lost. He really is a key player in the front ensemble.
I am certain that Cole is a Rising Star.
Belaynesh Downs-Reeve Visual Arts
Meet Belaynesh Downs-Reeve of Charlottesville High School:
Belaynesh is one of the most incredible, delightful young artists I have had the pleasure of teaching over the past 25 years while at Charlottesville High School, she excels above and beyond. Her kind and thoughtful nature allows her to be open to all possibilities in life.
Belaynesh is confident and strong. While some students are afraid to share their thoughts, Belaynesh is not. She also participates well in critiques. She is by no means afraid of a challenge , within the class or outside of the classroom. Belaynesh is one to seek out experiences and opportunities in her life. In the summer of 2020 she and her sisters committed to run 400 miles as a way to raise money for the Black Lives Matter organization.
Belaynesh is what we dream of as a student. She is gifted both artistically as well as intellectually. Her ability to work with all artistic mediums
and challenges are impressive. Belaynesh does not have fear of working in new ways. She is the student who searches for new artistic adventures, whether it is medium or concept. She puts so much thought into each piece she creates and no piece is created without a reason. Her current series of art communicates her love of music fostered by her Dad. She is exploring times in the car on long drives and the memories (from childhood to present day), of listening to particular 80’s songs with her family. It not only involves memory but the lyrics are important to her as well. Belaynesh has a very strong sense of design and color theory which may be seen in this series. She is aware of all parts of the
compositions she creates and is able to critically analyze them, and for all of these reasons, she is a Rising Star.
Shenandoah ( Shannie) Porter Creative Writing
Meet Shannie Porter of Albemarle High School, nominated through the Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center:
Shannie is an impressive young creative writing student at Albemarle High School. Not only does she have a powerful and versatile writing voice, she is a fabulous literary citizen who supports her fellow writers and has shouldered the mantle of editor for the coming Crossroads Teen Anthology, for taking time to lift up her fellow student writers, and for assisting the staff of the Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center. She won the Young Poets in the Community award from our Poet Laureate, Luisa Igloria! Young Poets were selected for the quality and resonance of their poems; and for the originality and relevance of their public poetry projects, specifically showing poetry’s role as a tool for social change, community/civic engagement, and emotional well-being.
We are all excited to see what the future holds for Shenandoah, she is truly a Rising Star.
Lilly Clark Theatre, Singing, Dance
Meet Lilly Clark of Western Albemarle High School:
Lilly is an emotionally intelligent and very expressive actor, as well as an amazing dancer and singer. She has entertained our audiences with her portrayals of Amy in Little Women, Pugsley in The Addams Family, and Kitty in Pride and Prejudice, among many others. She has choreographed dance numbers in several of our musicals, including a tap dance segment in The Addams Family. She has devoted hours of work to the choreography and to teaching it to other students and is always willing to help other performers.
Lilly is incredibly hard working and always offering ideas and help whenever we hit a problem, even if it’s with something she’s not directly involved in. She has a passion for theatre and a passion for learning and is generous and gracious: a true team player and a Rising Star.
Avery Wilkerson Choir, Theatre
Meet Avery Wilkerson of Monticello High School:
Unlike most performers, Avery is an introvert. He is the opposite of a typical theatre student. But he is the very best team player you will ever find. He participates every week at the Courtyard Collective and is enrolled in both drama and choir. What makes Avery extra outstanding is that he has conquered his stage fright and has been THE example to every other student that taking a risk pays off. Avery is a beginner at the guitar, but he never has let that stop him from preparing a song each and every week. On top of that, he is a mentor to the freshmen and sophomores in our drama classes. He is the dream performing arts student that is beloved by all teachers and his peers. Avery has a very bright future and he is a Rising Star.