Seniors Juliet Marinello, Niurca Chabla-Leon and Grace Wildermuth are culminating their sensational runs through Huntington High School by capturing coveted Otto Kahn Awards, which are presented annually to an elite group of fine and performing artists by Friends of OHEKA.
The awards are usually presented at a Great Gatsby themed garden party at OHEKA Castle, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of this year’s event.
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.
Ms. Marinello was honored in the category of dance while Ms. Wildermuth and Ms. Chabla-Leon were recognized for excellence in music and art, respectively.
Ms. Marinello is headed to Indiana University to study ballet in one of the top college programs in the country. “I chose Indiana University because of the renowned ballet program at the Jacobs School of Music,” Ms. Marinello said. “The distinguished teachers, style of training and repertoire really drew me to Indiana. Indiana also allows me to double major in another area along with ballet so I can build my academic career as well as further my training in ballet. I am not sure what other area I want to major in, but possibly something in the business field.”
The Huntington High School senior was named a Long Island Arts Alliance Scholar Artist, one of just 20 such honorees in all of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Ms. Marinello was profiled in Newsday.
Co-valedictorian of Huntington’s Class of 2021 and one of the top musicians in the high school, Ms. Wildermuth will be attending Vanderbilt University.
“I wanted to go to a college where I could pursue both music and academics intensely and Vanderbilt has the best mix of both those things,” Ms. Wildermuth said. “The campus is small, walkable and beautiful. Nashville is a great city for musicians and has many recording opportunities (and good hot chicken). I also loved the friendly atmosphere at Vanderbilt. I talked to admissions counselors and music professors there several times and they were always warm and happy to help.”
Co-President of Huntington’s Art Honor Society and completely bilingual, Ms. Chabla-Leon came to the Huntington UFSD and Southdown Primary School as a fourth grader. She has been a standout ever since. The teenager plans to study art and design education at Adelphi University in preparation for a career as an art teacher.
“My art teachers are wonderful,” Ms. Chabla-Leon said. “I love being in my art classes. They feel like home to me. In general, I think our art department is amazing and one day I hope that I can be part of it.”
Friends of OHEKA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, preservation and public awareness of OHEKA Castle.
Seniors who are slated to attend college in the fall and will major in performing arts, visual arts, or music are invited annually to apply for the Otto Kahn Award. Recipients are awarded at least $1,500.
Seniors from Huntington, Cold Spring Harbor, Half Hollow Hills East, Half Hollow Hills West, Harborfields, John H. Glenn, Northport and Walt Whitman are eligible to apply.
Friends of OHEKA has raised more than $195,000 for its Otto Kahn Awards program since 2003.