Arts Awards 2024

Kudos to all of Poly’s talented performing and visual arts students. The Arts Awards for the Class of 2024 brought together students and faculty at a lunch hosted on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. They gathered to celebrate the achievements, commitments, and growth of the following students whose contributions have produced artwork and performances of the highest caliber. Each of these students is commendable not only for their stellar contributions to Poly Arts, but also for the mentors and leaders they are, generous in spirit as they are talented in their craft.

  • Maddie Ruggie ’24 

The Ceramics Award honors a senior that has demonstrated love for and dedication to the art of ceramics. Maddie demonstrates deep fascination and remarkable potential in this artistic medium. Her work showcases both technical skill and artistic vision. As a leader in the Ceramics Club, she has fostered a supportive and lively community for ceramic artists at Poly. Her dedication and hard work serve as an inspiration to her classmates and club members alike.

  • William Ling-Regan ’24 

The Photography Award honors a student who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and creativity in the art of photography. William is not only an outstanding individual, but also an extraordinarily mature and inspired photographer. His intelligent sensitivity extends to light, content, and composition, as well as to the design and juxtaposition of images. He possesses a photographic mind and is unafraid to elicit emotional content from both his subjects and himself.

Gemma Pauls drawing
Drawing by Gemma Pauls ’24
  • Gemma Pauls ’24 

The Drawing and Painting Award honors a senior that demonstrates a great commitment to furthering their education in drawing and painting.

Gemma’s dedication and hard work in drawing set her apart from others. Akin to Gustave Doré’s engravings, the surfaces of Gemma’s work feel sentient, with lines resembling veins and tree limbs extending across the image. The echo of ancient voices in dark hallways imbues the vibrational tone inked in time. Her hatching techniques in Advanced Drawing demonstrated vital skill and attention to detail. 

Chantel Guthrie embroidery
Art & Social Change embroidery by Chantal Guthrie ’24
  • Chantal Guthrie ’24 

The Art History Award honors a student that has exemplified great scholarship and commitment to art history. Chantal exemplifies a rare, authentic form of intellectual curiosity and generosity. A diligent reader, sophisticated writer, and insightful visual thinker, Chantal Guthrie ’24 is a true Renaissance person. 

  • Lulu McDonald ’24
  • Marisa Triola ’24
  • Zachary Udin ’24
  • Zeke Wise ’24
  • Alex Xiao ’24

The Frank R. Hancock Award goes to musicians who have have displayed outstanding levels of dedication, musicianship and progress. Each has made an outstanding contribution to music at Poly Prep—not only within their ensembles, but also the surrounding community. The following students, in each of their disciplines—band, vocals, and orchestra—have consistently displayed high levels of dedication, musicianship, and progress that brought whatever they contributed to new heights. This year’s award winners are:

  • Zachary Udin ’24 – Jazz Ensemble (Band)
  • Zeke Wise ’24 – Choral
  • Lulu McDonald ’24 – Choral 
  • Alex Xiao ’24 – Orchestra
  • Marisa Triola ’24 – Orchestra

Zachary Udin ’24 has been an outstanding student both in class and out of class over the last four years. Whether performing as the pianist in Jazz Band, excelling as a music theory scholar, or playing as a sideman in performances outside of Poly, he has demonstrated a remarkable level of professionalism in all these endeavors.

Zeke Wise ’24 has won the Hancock Award for his participation in the Choral program, however his work in music stretches far beyond just singing. He has arranged and written a number of pieces performed by Poly groups and even his own acapella group, “Perfect 5th.” Zeke was also assistant music director for the past two years for the Upper School spring musical, all while taking on the lead male role. 

Lulu McDonald ’24 has been an indispensable part of Poly Music for many years. Lulu’s work includes leading the soprano section in Advanced Concert Choir, running the Coffeehouse arts series, and singing and arranging music for her acapella group, “Perfect 5th.” The Hancock Award is not the only honor Lulu received this year as she was invited to be part of the 2023 All State Choir—one of the higher honors for a student musician. 

Lulu McDonald '24
Lulu McDonald ’24
Alex Xiao '24
Alex Xiao ’24

Alex Xiao ’24 is an ambitious and motivated musician who aspires to advance technically and musically on his instrument. He has been a leader of the string ensembles in position, as well as being a solid role model for his peers. Alex has participated in performances at Poly events including providing background music, participating in the Concerts in Motion Intergenerational performance, and the NYSSMA solo contests.

Music has been a constant for Marisa Triola ’24 from private violin lessons, participating in ensembles year after year such as the Advanced String Ensemble, and participating in the NYSSMA solo contests, all while balancing her challenging schedule with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. She is dedicated and enjoys a challenge. Her technique and musicality have flourished in Poly’s Performing Arts program.

  • Anna Sophia Chamorro ’24
  • Miyana Holden ’24

The Dance Award goes to students who embody perseverance, dedication, and a focus on progress, demonstrating a commitment to realizing a broader artistic vision. Co-Artistic Director of the 2024 Afternoon of Student Choreography, Anna Sophia Chamorro ’24 and the Poly Prep 2023-2024 Co-Dance Captain, Miyana Holden ’24 have consistently demonstrated a high level of artistry and athleticism, and articulate a keen awareness through the dance languages they study and perform, showcasing versatility with advanced skill sets executed effortlessly.

Anna Sophia Chamorrow dancing
Anna Sophia Chamorro ’24
Miyana Holden '24
Miyana Holden ’24
Nina Harris '24
Nina Harris ’24
  • Nina Harris ’24 
  • Zeke Wise ’24

A choreographer assumes many roles, envisioning the trajectory that guides them in translating emotions, stories, and abstract concepts into movement. The recipients of this year’s Choreography Award embody perseverance, dedication, and a focus on progress, demonstrating a commitment to realizing the broader artistic vision.

Congratulations to Nina Harris ’24, co-artistic director of the 2024 Afternoon of Student Choreography and Zeke Wise ’24, Poly Prep’s 2023-2024 assistant music director for their strong representations of artistry as witnessed through their choreographic processes and developed dance compositions.

  • Zeke Wise ’24
  • MaKiyah Turner-Hicks ’24

The Walter B. Clark Drama award is given to students who represent an outstanding contribution to theater at Poly Prep. 

Zeke Wise in The Prom
Zeke Wise ’24 in The Prom

The Walter B. Clark Drama award goes to MaKiyah Turner-Hicks ’24, a student who commands attention with a presence that is both magnetic and mesmerizing from the moment they step onto the stage. MaKiyah’s performances are marked by an authenticity that is rare and captivating, drawing us into the stories told. Through plays and musicals and acting classes, this student has consistently shown poise and talent over their years at Poly. 

The Walter B. Clark Drama award goes to Zeke Wise ’24, a student who is set apart by his unwavering dedication to his craft. Zeke has approached every role with a fierce determination to push boundaries, challenge himself, and strive for excellence. Beyond his talent and dedication, Zeke has been a source of unwavering support and encouragement for his fellow performers. 

Junie Blaise '24
Junie Blaise ’24
  • Junie Blaise ’24 

The Winder Drama Award, named for former teacher David Winder, this award is presented to the student who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the theater program, particularly in technical theater and design components.

Junie Blaise ’24  is an outstanding student who has contributed to multiple theater productions backstage. Her work is necessary backstage to ensure the consistency of the production every night. Her strong work ethic is a driving force in the dressing rooms as she not only understands what each show requires, but also knows that each of her fellow students depend on her levelheaded calmness that encourages each student to walk on the stage, confident in their role. 

  • Bryce Trent ’24 
  • MaKiyah Turner-Hicks ’24

The Speech Award is given to Grade 12 students who have achieved competitive success in Speech and shown dedication to training future Speech competitors. This year, the award goes to Bryce Trent ’24 or, “the additional assistant coach.” Bryce is unprecedented in his attunement to the needs of our team and willingness to step in and do whatever’s asked. Bryce is one of the most enthusiastic and positive young artists that I’ve been privileged to work with. He is our first national qualifier in Program Oral Interpretation, finishing 5th in the state in POI and 3rd in DUO. 

Bryce Trent '24
Bryce Trent ’24
Makiyah Turner-Hicks '24
MaKiyah Turner-Hicks ’24

The Speech Award goes to MaKiyah Turner-Hicks ’24, a tenacious student whose performances captivate the audience and silence the room. MaKiyah is a fierce advocate for the team. From taking them through warmups at tournaments to helping bridge the communication between the team and the coaching staff, this student fosters an environment of inclusion and growth. MaKiyah also qualified for two national tournaments in two different events, and placed 3rd in States in DUO Interpretation.

Nathan Nguyen ’24
  • Nathan Nguyen ’24

The Debate Award is bestowed upon Grade 12 students who have achieved competitive success in Debate and shown dedication to training future debaters. For debate, Nathan Nguyen ’24 has been the exact leader the team needed, whose leadership will be felt for years to come. This year, he qualified to all three national tournaments he targeted. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions, the most prestigious national championship, qualified to the National Speech and Debate Championship, the biggest national championship, and finished as a quarterfinalist at the National Debate Coaches Association national championship. But beyond that, the amount of changes he dealt with and excelled through this year has been incredible.