News Release, Charles County Arts Alliance

For several years, the Charles County Arts Alliance (CCAA) has offered scholarships in the arts to a qualified graduating senior from each Charles County public high school.

The $1,000 scholarships will aid students in their visual, performing or literary arts degree programs. Each scholarship recipient has earned at least a minimum cumulative 3.0 weighted grade point average and has submitted an application including a detailedrésumé, an essay about why they chose to pursue an arts degree, two letters of recommendation from their teachers and/or advisors, and an official transcript.

The 2019 CCAA high school arts scholarship recipients are as follows: Victoria Michael from Henry E. Lackey, Griffin Moyer and Joshua Hackley from La Plata, Mickel Cannon from McDonough, Christina Alvarez from North Point, Jarren Sandidge from St. Charles, and Kiarré Sherman from Westlake. These graduates displayed an impressive level of artistic talent in the performing and visual arts and represented a high level of academic achievement averaging a 4.08 WGPA and top thirteen percent class ranking.

Victoria Michael

Victoria Michaelhas received numerous academic honors at Lackey High School, including her induction into the National Honor Society. She plays four musical instruments, and this musical talent has resulted in her membership in the high school jazz band, continual membership in the All-County and Tri-County bands, and earning superior ratings at the district and Maryland state solo festivals.

She has been very active in the community in which she has shared her musical talents by performing with the Charles County Youth Orchestra and at such places as the Charlotte Hall Veterans’ Home and at the Joint Base-Anacostia Bolling Chapel Community. A faculty member has described her as having “infectious energy, enthusiasm, a fun-loving attitude, leadership ability and a commitment to her short and long-term goals.” Another indicated that she “has been an indispensable member of the performing arts department…I don’t honestly know how we will replace her playing, leadership, and dedication.”

Perhaps one of the members on the Scholarship Committee summed it up for Victoria by stating she will be an “excellent representative for the CCAA scholarship.” Ms. Michael will be attending Frostburg State University seeking a degree in Music and Engineering and pursuing a career in the arts.

Griffin Moyer

Griffin Moyerhas received numerous academic honors, such as being a member of the National Honor Society and receiving Minds in Motion awards. He plays the tuba and six other musical instruments, and this musical talent has led to membership in the All-County and Tri-County bands, as well as participating in the La Plata High School concert, jazz, marching, and symphonic bands.

He has been very active in the community as a member and President of the Best Buddies Organization. In his recommendations, he has been described as “an outstanding young man who will be a tremendous asset to both student life and academics at any institution.” Another indicated he “has boundless potential and his strength in character and attitude and leadership will get him far in life.”

A member of the Scholarship Committee described him as a “very dedicated young student.” Mr. Moyer will attend Slippery Rock University to earn a degree in Music Therapy and Education and pursue a career in music education and therapy.

Joshua Hackley

Joshua Hackleyhas been intensely active in theatre and choir at La Plata High School has participated in the various aspects of some thirteen different theatrical productions and in the All-County and Tri-County Choirs and winning awards in district and state solo and ensemble festival competitions.

Additionally, he has earned academic honors, such as being a member of the National Honor Society, member, and officer in the Tri-M Music Honor Society and member of the International Thespian Honor Society. He has volunteered to participle in community-based choir performances and served in the Bel Alton Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Hackley received glowing recommendations in his application package. His counselor described him as “hard-working, diligent, mature, and a great communicator.”

A teacher stated that “Josh commands respect as a musician and performer through his actions and dependability” A Scholarship Committee member agreed by describing Joshua as being “excellent across the board.” He will pursue a degree in Music with a concentration in Music Education at Coastal Carolina University and plans to follow with a career in Music and teaching.

Mickel Cannon

Mickel Cannonhas earned academic honors, such as being inducted into the National Honor Society and receiving the Departmental Award for Excellence. He has vigorously expanded his interest in film by spending part of his 2017 summer at the Maine Media Workshops and College where with other students he made a short film called “For Sale.” He continued that interest in film by founding and stimulating the growth of McDonough’s Film Club.

Additionally, he has volunteered his time and energy to organizations, such as the Largo Community Church and K9 Vision dog training. Faculty members and others speak highly of Mr. Cannon. A counselor stated, “He is organized, committed and displays outstanding leadership qualities.” A teacher noted that his “positive attitude makes him someone who excels in group settings. He is both eager to share and listen.”

One of the members on the Scholarship Committee mentioned being very impressed with his film club leadership at McDonough. He is going to the New York School of Visual Arts and Film to earn a degree in Film and pursue a career in film making.

Christina Alvarez

Christina Alvarezhas received academic honors, such as becoming a member of the National Honor Society and earning the Outstanding Award in Graphic Design at North Point High School. Recognizing the importance of the creative spirit in design, she has further stimulated that creativity by taking Art, Painting, Photography and multi-media courses.

She has actively served the community in a variety of capacities, such as being a little league soccer coach and volunteering at the local humane society and Waldorf Jaycees. Faculty members have identified her as “an exemplary student with an outstanding work ethic” who “will always be on top of things academically” and noted “her creative ability to think outside the box to turn her project into something resembling a piece of art.”

Perhaps one of the members on the Scholarship Committee summed it up for Christina by indicating on the evaluation form that she is “a superstar.” Ms. Alvarez has been accepted at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she will enter the Advertising and Design degree program for a career in graphic design.

Jarren Sandidge

Jarren Sandidgehas earned academic recognition in High Honor and on Principal’s Honor rolls and in Leadership. His enthusiasm for Photography has spurred his interest in being in the Photography Club at St. Charles High School, building his own home studio, and posting his carefully crafted photographs on Twitter and Snapchat.

Additionally, a reference noted that Jarren “sees the need to give back to his community,” and he has done so through a variety of organizations, such as Lifestyles of Southern Maryland, Christmas in April, Feed the Homeless, and Farming for Hunger. An English teacher wrote, “I’ve found him to be highly respectful, participatory and hard-working as a student” and “This pattern is accurate in all subjects.” His photography teacher said, “I have become inspired by how passionate Jarren is and how hard he is willing to work to get a shot right or to master a concept we are learning.”

A Scholarship Committee member stated that he is “serious about the art of photography.” Mr. Sandidge will begin this fall in the Photography degree program at Drexel University and pursue a career in the arts.

Kiarré Sherman

Kiarré Shermanhas received numerous academic honors, such as being inducted into the National Honor Society. She plays violin, piano, mallet percussion and is learning two more musical instruments. This musical talent has resulted in her membership in the All-County and Tri-County Orchestra and the Westlake High School marching and jazz bands and orchestra.

Community activities include participating in local musical performances, teaching at local music clinics and camps, and volunteering for activities, such as Special Olympics, the Children’s Aid Society, and the Polar Bear Plunge and Fundraising. A faculty member described her as standing “out among her peers as a true leader with an impressive character” and “one of Westlake High School’s intellectual elite.” Her Music teacher wrote, “Kiarré has grown to become an outstanding and integral member of Westlake High School’s Instrument Music Department.” A member of the Scholarship Committee noted that she is “super, a top student in general and specifically in the Arts.”

Ms. Sherman will be entering the Music Performance and Education program at Towson State University and will seek a career in Music and teaching.

The mission of the Charles County Arts Alliance is to stimulate, promote, encourage and provide recognition of the arts and the creative spirit in Charles County. For more information about the Arts Alliance,, call 301-392-5900,

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...