Congratulations to this year’s QAC and Hugh P. O’Neil Student Bursary winners
By Jeanette Arsenault
Congratulations to four talented students who are the 2015 recipients of the Quinte Arts Council and Hugh P. O’Neil bursaries!
These bursaries reward students for superior academic achievement, as well as active involvement in the arts within their school and in the wider community, and are intended to assist them with post-secondary education in the arts.
Winners of the Quinte Arts Council bursaries are Portia Chapman and Eleanor Aston. Winners of the Hugh P. O’Neil bursaries are Sean Rashotte and Leah Hamilton. At their graduation ceremonies, each student will receive a certificate, along with a cheque for the school they choose to attend.
“For as long as I remember, art has been my passion”, says Portia Chapman a student of Nicholson Catholic College (NCC). She plans on attending Queen’s University, in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours-Visual Art program, with aspirations of becoming a secondary school art teacher, as well as a listed and collected artist. She also aspires to run her own ‘Portia M-Art and Home Décor Store.’
Her NCC Communications Technology and New Media teacher, Gord McGlynn, describes Portia as “an extremely creative and resourceful student who thrives on academic, creative and technological challenges. She works with determination (both individually and within groups) to produce technical design and radio projects that consistently exceed the standard.” He continues by saying that her “artistic and creative talents were recognized by our school board trustees. Her logo design for the board’s new Faith In Action theme was chosen among many and… it is now featured regularly in many board communication campaigns.”
James Craig, NCC Visual Arts teacher says that her “work consistently reflects her desire to find personal growth and artistic innovation. Her work is multi-layered in terms of technique, media and symbolism. Painting, batik, sculpting, digital and fabric arts are all within the variety of explorations that she has undertaken in remaking herself as the artist she wants to be.”
As Eleanor Aston says, “Visual Art has always been one of my chief passions”. Eleanor started taking watercolour classes at the age of six, and since then has entered many art shows in the Quinte area, winning prizes along the way, including winning her school’s contest to create a Random Acts of Kindness poster for 2015.
A student of Nicholson Catholic College (NCC) – International Baccalaureate Program – Eleanor plans on attending McGill University and studying architecture, with her dream being to become a licensed architect and eventually partner in an architectural firm. “Architecture, as far as I am concerned, is public art. Buildings and built objects are intricate explorations of the way we can entangle ourselves with the world around us, how we change it and how it influences us,” she says.
Teacher Meaghan Woodland says, “Eleanor has been a vital part of our school’s drama productions. When she was in grade ten, she was a stage manager in the school’s production of Grease and this year, she is continuing in the role of stage manager, for the Shakespearean production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“Eleanor is an exemplary student… her work in pencil is without peer. Her drawings are meticulous and her technique is undeniably beautiful. Her paintings are complex and diverse in expression, style and meaning… and [she] earned an outstanding grade of 96% in her senior art course,” says her Visual Arts teacher at NCC, James Craig.
“When I’m acting, I feel alive and happy,” declares Sean Rashotte, who attends Nicholson Catholic College, and plans on attending Brock University to study Dramatic Arts. His goal is to become an actor and/or teacher.
Determined and pro-active, when NCC did not offer a grade 12 drama class, he would attend NCC classes in the morning and take the class at another school in the afternoon – persisting in spite of the great distance between the two schools.
NCC English teacher, Sonia Zanette, says that she has known him “since his grade 11 year, when I taught him in my Peer Tutoring class… Sean is a self-advocate who exhibits effective time management skills in his daily routine of school… maintained a strong grade point average while participating in a variety of extra-curricular activities including school plays and other inter-related activities. He encourages those around him to strive for excellence and is viewed as an excellent role model to his peers.”
Mrs. M.E. Murray, another of Sean’s teachers, writes, “When Sean was in Grade 9, his drama class participated in the Stratford Student Players Festival. It was there that Sean was spotted by the education director who was very impressed by young Sean’s portrayal of Malvolio from Twelfth Night, and invited him to come to Stratford for the summer program for young actors. Of his work at NCC Mrs. Murray adds, “Sean took on the role of Doody in our school’s production of Grease, where he showcased his comedic skills, indeed, delighting the audience with his deliberate horrendous crooning and equally deliberate awkward physicality.”
“I am a passionate arts student in the Belleville community…. a dancer, a singer or someone who loves to be creative… I am an arts enthusiast,” says Centennial Secondary School (CSS) student Leah Hamilton. Her ambition is to attend Queen’s University, to enroll in the Arts-Drama program, and eventually make a career in performance and teaching.
Teacher and Department Head, FSL & ESL at CSS, Amanda Thornton, says “I am thrilled to be writing this letter… Leah has consistently been a top student of mine… she has made a big impression not only on me but also on her classmates and on other students within the school. Leah was the founder of our school’s first Art Council, through which she has planned innovative arts events within our school… has also been the choreographer for our school’s productions… has followed the Quinte Ballet School of Canada Professional Training Program… with the ballet school but also in school productions. Leah… has been involved in community theatre productions at the Pinnacle Playhouse… acting and choreography.”
Michele Lintern-Mole, Drama Instructor at CSS, says Leah “has a strong passion for the Arts, especially in the fields of drama, dance and music… she has made an outstanding contribution to our community projects… [she] demonstrates gratitude and creativity… understands the importance of the Arts as a vehicle of communication for present day society.”
Portia Chapman received a QAC Bursary. She is pictured here with Carol Feeney, QAC Executive Director. The other winner, Eleanor Aston, was not available for the photo.
On either side of Hugh O’Neil are, Leah Hamilton (left) and Sean Rashotte (right) who each received a Hugh P. O’Neil Bursary.