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 the Performing, Theater, or Visual Arts.

Performing Arts Category:

  • Ryan Rankin – Chopticon High School, will attend Towson University and desires to pursue a degree in Music Performance. Clarinetist for nine years during his time within the St. Mary’s County Public School System and All-County member since 5th grade. Has played with SMYOC for six seasons. Joined the band in 4th grade from encouragement from a friend and started playing seriously in the 5th grade. Transcribed a musical piece in Muse Score which he had played by ear which currently has over 10,000 views!
  • Jocelyn Finnecy – Chopticon High School, accepted to Frostburg State University. Has been a cellist for eleven years now which is her favorite thing to do! Desires to become a professional music teacher to pass on her knowledge to the next generation. Has played in NYC and also at Disneyworld. Participated in several HS musicals (pit orchestra) and All-County Orchestra within the school system. Also has participated with Summerstock productions Mary Poppins and The Newsies.
  • Pierre Petitjean – Leonardtown High School, accepted to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Member of the Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra & Choir (SMYOC), the Chamber Orchestra of Southern Maryland in Concert, and the American Youth Philharmonic groups. Plays viola, violin, cello, baritone horn, and trombone. Desires to become a professional music teacher either in the public school system, private studio, and/or a combination of both.

Theater Arts Category:

  • Breanna Lemerise – Chopticon High School, accepted to Rider University as a student in their acclaimed Musical Theater Program. AVPA member. Singing since a very young age, aspirations are to reach Broadway as a professional musician and theatrical performer. Recipient of many school-related awards. Last four years have worked offering lessons in piano, violin,

and voice to children as she loves to share her own passion for music to others. Has held roles at CHS productions as well as with the Newtowne Players.

Visual Arts Category:

  • Heidi Davis – Leonardtown High School, will attend College of Southern Maryland. Art interests are primarily painting and drawing in particular using acrylics, watercolors, gouache, and pen & ink. Her work has been exhibited in various school and community shows. Favorite subject matters include Japanese art styles, nature, and animal themes. Desires to earn Associate’s Degree and continue to study in the Arts/ Arts Education field following transfer to a university.

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.

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