The National Society of Arts and Letters


Washington DC Chapter


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Award for Excellence

in the Arts


High School Juniors Receive Honors in the Arts



2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts Chairs

Gwinneth Clarkson and Lynn Gorton



The Washington DC Chapter


The Twelfth Annual

Award for Excellence in the Arts Program

Monday, May 4, 2015 at 7:30 pm


The Terrace Theater

With Support From

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts



Inaugurated in 2004 under the inspiration of Helen Henderson, this award program recognizes high school juniors in the Washington metropolitan area public, charter, and private high schools with either an Award for Excellence or a Certificate of Merit which documents their artistic talent and is a point of distinction on their application to the college of their choice.  These students are recognized in the disciplines of art, dance, drama, literature, music, and musical theatre.


We have a cherished tradition during the Awards ceremony of bringing back “alumni” from our previous year to either perform on the Kennedy Center stage or display their artwork during our program.  All Award winners and Merit recipients are invited to audition for this opportunity to provide the audience with a little entertainment and, hopefully, inspiration.  This is yet another way in which our chapter works to fulfill our mission of supporting young talent!


Among past winners and performers are a number of international students who have attended Washington area high schools.  In 2014, the Award for Excellence Program recognized over 100 high school juniors from 35 different high schools in the Washington metropolitan area. The students were excited, the parents were proud, and the teachers were happy.






We ask that each participating high school nominate junior-level students who excel in any of six artistic disciplines showcased by NSAL: art, literature, dance, drama, music, and musical theater.  This should be a collaborative process between the school’s various creative departments. 


Each participating school may select:


— One Award for Excellence winner —

—     Up to three Certificate of Merit  winners —


These students are then honored for their skill, dedication, and talent with an Award trophy or Certificate document presented to them onstage at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater each Spring.




■ Teachers, administrators, and/or counselors at each participating high school who are best qualified to evaluate and recommend a student for recognition are asked to collaborate with one another to select one Award for Excellence recipient and up to three Certificate of Merit winners.


■ Students selected should represent the most promising junior-level talent in any of the following six disciplines: art, literature, dance, drama, music, and musical theater.


We suggest that selection be guided by goals specified in the National Standards for Arts Education available at


■ The decision to recognize high school juniors was made so that recipients could include the NSAL Award for Excellence and Certificate of Merit distinction on their college applications.  Although we ask that your consideration focus on young students who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the arts, this is not a requirement.



For more information please contact Award for Excellence Chairs

Gwinneth Clarkson and Lynn Gorton



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2014 Award for Excellence


2013 Award for Excellence


2012 Award for Excellence


2011 Award for Excellence


2010 Award for Excellence


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Katherine Carson Kyle