Earning one of the twenty U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts this year, New World School of the Arts (NWSA) once again brings home to Miami the coveted honor, representing the distinguished NWSA visual arts division. As part of the Presidential Scholars Class of 2024, newly minted Scholar, Paola Alvarez Ramirez, will be recognized for her outstanding achievement this summer with an online recognition program. The U.S. Presidential Scholar award presented on behalf of the President of the United States is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students and symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential.


“We are so proud of Paola Alvarez Ramirez. She is an extraordinary talent, and we are so happy that her career at New World School of the Arts culminated in this prestigious recognition,” said Dr. Contessa Bryant, NWSA high school principal. “I keep saying of our artists that they are no longer doing the art of “now”; but rather, they are creating the art of “next”. This takes vision and willingness to take risks. I am so proud that Paola had teachers that helped to nurture her natural gift and provide her the encouragement to create such interesting and powerful art.”

“This award is one of the highest honors in the nation, Paola’s commitment to her art practice, high caliber of production, and community engagement are testament of her creative spirt and civic engagement,” noted O. Gustavo Plascencia, dean of visual arts at New World School of the Arts. “It’s nice to see her being recognized for her hard work, NWSA is very proud of her, and we can only imagine what’s to come from her.”


Paola Alvarez Ramirez, a high school senior at New World School of the Arts visual arts division, was admitted to University of the Arts London where she will pursue a career in Fashion Design. Not a stranger to this artistic field, Paola has been consistently preparing to make her dream of becoming a fashion designer a reality.


“Paola has sought opportunities to further her artistic pursuits, such as attending a painting and drawing course at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and undertaking online courses in Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,” explained NWSA high school counselor, Nadyn Chybik. Paola also participated fashion-centric courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and ventured to London for an in-person Fashion Design and Draping course at the institute, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to her artistic passions.  


In addition to successfully managing a demanding academic load at NWSA, which consists of five academic classes, college-level art courses, plus three hours of arts training a day, Paola has also found time to dedicate to her extracurricular activities at the school and in the community. “New World School of the Arts high school students take college-level art courses that help them develop concentration, discipline, and perception – qualities key to academic as well as artistic success. It is within this setting that Paola has demonstrated incredible self-discipline and a willingness to pursue excellence in her art as well as her academics,” noted Chybic.


As President of the NWSA National English Honor Society, she leads the school’s literary magazine, meticulously curating anonymous student submissions into a cohesive representation of our diverse student body. Paola is also involved in New World School of the Arts’ Mentor Program, offering guidance and support to incoming freshmen and volunteers with Hermanos de la Calle, an organization that makes sandwiches for the less fortunate, and with Tropotrope, an inclusive arts center where she exchanged art and writing with prisoners.


The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are all YoungArts winners nominated by the organization to The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and selected based on academic and artistic distinction, leadership qualities and community service. Added to the notable list of U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts awards received by New World School of the Arts students, this recognition is bestowed upon a handful of promising students in the nation each year. For the institution that forms and nurtures them, the reward comes in the form of prestige and distinction. With more than twenty Presidential Scholar in the Arts since 1988, Paola’s outstanding recognition as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts marks the school’s tenth award in the visual arts division.


“The 161 high school seniors selected for the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars represents the best of our nation’s schools and inspire hope in the bright future of this country,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of two students from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 scholars in the arts (Paola’s cohort of Scholars), and 20 scholars in career and technical education. 

A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music college degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theatre and Art & Design. NWSA’s rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for almost four decades.

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