Top teenage artists Michael Bradford and Kenneth Fajardo will culminate their magnificent four year runs through Huntington High School by receiving the Otto Kahn Award at OHEKA Castle next Wednesday at a Great Gatsby themed garden party.
Mr. Bradford is a standout graphic artist and Mr. Fajardo is a promising young photographer. The duo has produced breathtaking work and impressed their teachers. Friends of OHEKA selected the two Huntington teenagers as among just seven recipients of this year’s Otto Kahn Award, which carries a $3,000 stipend.
Otto Kahn was a patron of the arts during his legendary lifetime
The Otto Kahn Awards are presented to a select group of seniors who intend to pursue education and training in the fine and performing arts and who show exceptional potential. A financier, Mr. Kahn was also a patron of the arts, well-known for his support of struggling artists in the early 1900s.
“It has been a highlight in my 17 years at Huntington High School to work with Michael Bradford,” said Kasmira Mohanty, who leads the high school’s graphic arts program. “Michael joined my computer graphics class in eleventh grade, which is unusual, since the entry level classes I teach are usually filled with ninth and tenth graders. It wasn’t very long before I discovered Michael’s instinctual artistic sensibilities. With each new project I saw him become more and more confident in his ability to visually represent his ideas and personal style.”
Mr. Bradford is in the process of finalizing his college plans, deciding between a pair of schools that offer the courses and program that interests him. He’s also reflecting on the possibility of ultimately heading to a Midwest art school.
“Michael is extremely detailed oriented and demonstrates the ability to rework an assignment until it meets his exacting standards,” Mrs. Mohanty said. “He has worked tirelessly to make up for lost time. Getting a late start in the arts and battling personal adversities has not deterred Michael from pursuing a career in the arts. I couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments and to have had the opportunity to share in his journey thus far. We are both looking forward to celebrating his acceptance of the Otto Kahn scholarship at OHEKA Castle on June 13.”
Being named a recipient of the Otto Kahn Award came as a surprise to the teenager. “Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first,” Mr. Bradford said. “When I was told, I was like, ‘you're pulling my leg aren’t you?’ I thought I didn’t make the cut to win, but lo and behold here we are now. A surprise to be sure; but a welcome one.”
Mr. Fajardo is headed to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study photography. He has enjoyed a multi-faceted high school experience from performing with the Blue Devil marching band to winning honors in the National History Day initiative.
“Kenny is a great photographer,” said Pamela Piffard, who leads the high school’s photography program. “He is always looking to expand the quality of his work. He has come so far and works so hard to make his dreams a reality.”
Named a Distinguished Senior earlier this spring after compiling an academic grade average of at least a 90 during every semester of high school, Mr. Fajardo led the low brass section of the marching band.
“It was a great honor to be selected for such a competitive scholarship,” Mr. Fajardo said. “I am proud to be representing Huntington High School in this manner and to receive this award for my achievements in the visual arts.”
Friends of OHEKA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, preservation and public awareness of OHEKA Castle.