Russian Culture Now Announces Scholarship Winners

And now, the much-anticipated announcement of the Russian Culture Now Scholarship Award Winners of 2011… Congratulations to all of the winners and their families! We had an overwhelming response to the Scholarship Awards with more than 140 entries from students all over the country. What was even more impressive was the caliber of students who applied. I was truly in awe of these students who demonstrated amazing talent, skill and dedication to the arts, their schoolwork, and their communities.

Some of the essays brought tears to my eyes. Others made me laugh out loud.

Many of the students truly understood that they must take a proactive approach to bettering themselves. They understood that their parents make a huge investment and commitment to offer them the gift of special interest classes, summer intensive workshops and supplies. In some of the essays, applicants wrote how their parents cannot afford everything, and many said that their parents had lost their jobs and it was hard for their parents to shoulder the responsibility of paying for their training or their education.

I was moved that many of the students wrote about how they save their allowance to be able to go to special arts summer camps or buy new instruments or pay for a special master class. These are students who truly understand the value of scholarships they would receive.

I am especially grateful to the judges ― Brett Batterson, Executive Director of the Auditorium Theater; Steve Robinson, General Manager of WFMT; Patricia Maza-Pittsford, the Consul General of El Salvador and Dean of the Consulate Corps; and Prince Piotr Galitzine ― for taking the time to read through all of the essays and select the winners.

Each of the 10 winners will receive a $500 scholarship on April 23 at an exclusive, VIP reception for choreographer Boris Eifman from St. Petersburg, Russia. I am looking forward to meeting all of these wonderful young people in person!

Winners Middle School: Demitra Bereveskos, Age: 12, Indianapolis, IN Boris Federov, Age: 10, Glenview, IL Kalista J’lyse Kafana, Age: 12, St. Clairsville, OH Hannah Kipniss, Age: 13, Alpharetta, GA

High School: Hayley Boyles, Age: 15, Hattiesburg, MS Joseph Conovaloff, Age: 17, Rolling Hills Estates, CA Ludmila Malakhov, Age: 16, Albuquerque, NM Cecily Romaynne Shives, Age: 16, Chicago, IL

College/Graduate School: Paul De Partout, DePaul University, Chicago, IL Darina Molkina, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI