Student Accolades for 2019-2020

Kudos to Our Chamber Strings Students!

Violist Philip Rawlinson (Grade 11) was awarded first prize last week at the Carolina Youth Symphony Concerto Competition! Phillip will be soloing with the orchestra later this spring.

Will Rawlinson (Cello, Grade 11), Philip Rawlinson, and Abigail Byrd (Cello, Grade 12), won the Greenville County Youth Orchestra Concerto competition this past fall and will be soloing with the GCYO later this spring.

Congratulations to Our Youngarts Winners!

The Fine Arts Center is proud to announce that two of our students have been honored by the prestigious National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts)!

  • Congratulations to Merit Award Winner Pen Zuleger, whose novel was selected for recognition in the Writing category.
  • Congratulations to National Finalist Nicholas Turgeon, who has been selected as a Visual Arts winner.

Pen and Nick join 686 of the nation’s most accomplished artists in the visual, literary and performing arts. They were selected by an esteemed discipline-specific panel of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process. This year’s award winners represent the top 9.5% of applications across ten artistic disciplines. YoungArts award winners gain access to one of the most prestigious programs for emerging artists in the United States in which they will have opportunities for creative and professional development throughout their entire careers.

As a Finalist, Nick will have the opportunity to participate in National YoungArts Week (January 5–12, 2020), the organization’s signature program providing artists with an intensive, weeklong and all-inclusive program featuring masterclasses, workshops and mentorship from leading artists in their fields. He will be eligible to be nominated to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors bestowed by the President of the United States

Pen Zuleger and Nicholas Turgeon
Nicholas Turgeon and Pen Zuleger

Sarah Blackman, Creative Writing

Sarah Blackman

The Fine Arts Center is pleased to announce that Sarah Blackman has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes.

The Pushcart Prize, the Best of the Small Presses series, has been published every year since 1976. It is the most honored literary project in America.

This is an amazing achievement! Congratulations Sarah!

Visual Arts Students Take Home Over 100 Scholarstic Art & Writing Awards!

Below are the Fine Arts Center stats from 2019 Scholastic Art Awards in the SOUTHEAST REGION-AT-LARGE:

  • Gold Keys - 32 artworks and 4 portfolios
  • Silver Keys - 38 artworks and 2 portfolios
  • Honorable Mentions - 53 artworks and 2 portfolios
  • Regional One Earth Award - 1

Fine Arts Center Announces New Director

Mr. Vee Popat brings 17 years of experience in public school education to the Fine Arts Center, serving as a band director for the first 9 years of his career before moving into the administrative level. He holds a B.A. in Music Education from Virginia Tech, an M.M. in Jazz Education from the University of Miami (FL), and an M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. The bulk of Mr. Popat’s career as a music educator was in the award-winning programs of the Randolph Township Schools in Randolph, NJ. Concert and Jazz Ensembles under his direction received consistent Gold and Superior Ratings, and the Randolph High School Jazz Ensemble served as the representative student ensemble at the 2013 Jazz at Lincoln Center Band Directors’ Academy. Mr. Popat has served as the director of New Jersey Honor Ensembles multiple times, working with both Junior High and High School Concert and Jazz Ensembles at the Area and Region levels. He also was an Adjunct Faculty member of the prestigious Newark Academy Jazz Program, President of the North Jersey Area Band, and President of Region I of the New Jersey Jazz Education Association.

In 2011, Mr. Popat assumed leadership of the Randolph Visual and Performing Arts Program, serving as the Supervisor of Music, Art, Dance, Family/Consumer Science, and Mass Media programs. The Randolph Music Program was consistently named to the “Best Communities for Music Education” list by the NAMM Foundation. In 2013, he took over the Visual and Performing Arts Program in the West Essex Regional School District and quickly advanced to the role of West Essex Middle School Principal. Under his leadership, the school was named a 2018 “Spotlight School” by the New Jersey Schools to Watch Program. Mr. Popat has twice presented at the New Jersey Association for Middle-Level Education Conference and has also presented at the 2017 Association for Middle-Level Education National Conference in Philadelphia, PA.

Mr. Popat maintains an active teaching and performing career as a professional saxophonist. He and his wife Heather, a fellow educator, have three children - Nate (10), Charlotte (10), and Addison (3). They are excited to join their family in Greenville!

Mr. Vee Popat
Mr. Vee Popat