Skowhegan Arts Council Awards 3 Youth Scholarships

SKOWHEGAN – The Wesserunsett Arts Council recently awarded $1,500 to three students from Skowhegan School for its first youth scholarship.

The idea for this scholarship came from WXNZ HooSkow Radio volunteer DJ Earl Boyd. After interviewing several young artists for his Guest Room programme, he was amazed to see talent blossoming in Somerset County. He wanted to give these young people a cash thank you gift to invest in art supplies, lessons and even gas for the cars that would take them to drama camp or a music rehearsal, according to a press release from the advice.

A scholarship of up to $500 is awarded annually to applicants between the ages of 10 and 18 residing in Somerset County. These candidates are recommended by a parent, teacher or community member who will certify that they are qualified. Applicants can submit a cover letter outlining why they feel they are a good candidate and they must also attend an interview with the Youth Scholarship Committee. Each year, the application deadline is February 14, and recipients know if they have won the scholarship by April 1.

This year, the five members of the Youth Scholarship Committee were so impressed with the variety of talents of the three nominees that they couldn’t choose just one to win the $500. Therefore, they split the purse three ways and a committee member added a little extra to make each prize equal to $1,700. However, after seeing a post about the scholarship on Facebook, an anonymous couple reached out and presented the council with a check for $1,000, so these young artists could have $500 each.

Amelie Cooper Photo submitted

Recommended by music teacher, Gail Kelly, Amelia Cooper is a sixth-grade musician at Skowhegan Area Middle School who plays the clarinet beautifully after learning to play five months ago. In her cover letter, she wrote heartwarming stories about her inspiring grandmother and also how music brings her peace on difficult days. Playing in the school band helped her form friendships. During her interview, she played “The Pink Panther Theme” while playing music on her cell phone. She would like to use the prize money for private clarinet lessons.

Cooper dreams of being a policeman or an FBI agent and playing in jams and bands on the side.


Cailyn McKechnie Photo submitted

Recommended by artist Iver Lofving, Cailyn McKechnie is a first-year high school student from the Skowhegan area who showed the committee some outstanding drawings and paintings. In her cover letter, she’s been talking about drawing for as long as she can remember. She’s gone from drawing clothes and figures to flowers, people and landscapes using many different mediums of acrylic and watercolor paints, colored pencils, alcohol markers, pens and an iPad, and she’s saving often his allowance to buy them. She would like to use the prize money to buy art supplies on her wish list.

McKechnie dreams of going to art school and trade school, being an animator, and opening an art store.

Charlie Staples Photo submitted

Recommended by his parents and by Boyd, Charlie Staples is an eighth grade actor/singer at Skowhegan Area Middle School with years of experience. He has been acting since he was 6 years old with Midge Pomelow at Midge’s Theater Arts Studio, was in the musical “Big Fish” at the Lakewood Theater, recorded public service announcements and character voices for the Shorts program Stories & Tall Tales on WXNZ Radio, sang in the school choir since second grade, sang in several junior KV choirs, and was Reinholt Schultz, a German soldier in 1941, in “Not On This Night” at the Skowhegan Opera. He would like to use the prize money to pay for part of the tuition for the Lakewood Theater Teen Tech & Tour program this summer.

Staples dreams of going to college in New York to act and become a professional actor.


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