News Release, St. Mary’s County Arts Council

The St. Mary’s County Arts Council presented five $1,000 awards to recently graduated high school seniors who are pursuing the arts in higher education. The Arts Council has established these awards to recognize, encourage, and support individuals who demonstrate excellence and a high level of interest in one or more of the following categories: visual arts, the performing arts, and theater.

  • Katherine O’ Shields (Ryken HS) – Katherine began her formal music training on piano at the age of six and has flourished ever since then! She has held principal roles in local theatre productions and has been studying with Jennifer Cooper of the Cooper Voice Studio for several years now. Katie enjoys singing, dancing, and acting and has received various awards and recognitions.  
  • Vanessa Gregorio (Leonardtown HS) – Vanessa has been drawing for as long as she can remember, she enjoys creating comic-style sketches with corny punchlines and has an immense passion for fictional media. She completed the Graphic Communications program at the Dr. James A. Forrest Tech Center and has recently volunteered just shy of 80 hours of work to help create a mural in Leonardtown Square.
  • Kasey Ferm (Leonardtown HS) – primarily a bass and double bass guitar player, also skilled in mandolin, piano, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, and acoustic guitar. Has played with the Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra, COSMIC, Chesapeake Youth Symphony, and many other groups. A personal highlight has been playing at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home and getting to know the residents there.
  • Alizza Damaso (home school) – a visual artist with a flair for abstract ideas and creating “outside of the box”, has been featured in several local exhibits and has received commissions from around the globe. Alizza has held passions for painting, dancing, writing, and acting for many years and is an arts advocate for expressionism, positive mental health, and channels
  • Jordan Scott (Chopticon HS) – Jordan has been a member of Chopticon’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts program for four years and successfully completed her senior year capstone project. She has been a community advocate to help address issues of homelessness and mental health services and has been active with volunteering at the WARM homeless shelter program.
Image courtesy of St. Mary’s Arts Council

Congratulations to these amazing student artists! These scholarships are offered on an annual basis, visit for info and details about future opportunities for St. Mary’s County students.