Creativity in the Time of Covid-Dec. 6, 2020

VPA Film & Animation Student Wins Finalist Status on L4L

An enthusiastic congratulations to VPA Film & Animation senior Myles Summerlin, who was announced this week as a finalist in the Leaders 4 Life program, a scholarship branch of Take Stock In Children.

Of 36,000 Take Stock members, Myles was selected as one of 90 statewide to apply for the prestigious $40,000 L4L scholarship; now he is one of 12 finalists for the incredible prize. Winners will be announced in January 2021, so stay tuned!

For achieving this status as finalist, Myles won a brand-new MacBook Pro, along with tech tools for maximizing the laptop. This will come in handy for this award-winning filmmaker and honors student–he’s currently in the top 10 percent of the BHS senior class and has films in the festival circuit across the nation.

VPA Band Marches Toward Finish Line

VPA Band Director Ellen Saxton has taken on a new role on campus: Running Club sponsor. A trained runner, Ms. Saxton has decided it’s time to share her love for the sport with her students, and now that Marching Band is over, she noted many of the “band kids” are no longer participating in rigorous physical sport. So she has invited them to run with her once a week as a means of making memories by the mile, sweating it out in solidarity.

SPAACES Offers Forum for QuaranTEEN Expression

VPA senior Production & Design major Sophia Coscia is a curator intern for SPAACES: Letter from Quarantine.

SPAACES—a local organization that seeks to create a community of artists to exhibit relevant works that examine social, political and cultural movements—is hosting an open call for entries for an upcoming exhibition: “Greetings from Quarantine.” With the purpose of telling personal stories that reveal teens’ pandemic experiences, “Greetings from Quarantine” will focus on the self-discovery that many teens may have embarked on as they took on days, and then months, of isolation for safety’s sake. All sorts of art are accepted, from visual works to writings, installations, music and more. The deadline’s Jan. 18, 2021. See more details here.

Hungry for An Aesthetic Treat?

Next time you’re at the forthcoming grill at Lido Beach Pavilion, stop to notice the artwork that adorns the place. The mural’s the work of VPA Art Department Chair Steve Strenk, along with fellow Sarasota artist Tim Jaeger.

The two completed the aquatic-inspired mural on Nov. 29 and beachgoers and concession patrons for years to come will be able to enjoy a fresh and fun mural along with their fries.

Strenk’s artwork pops up all around town, and this is a great example to our aspiring artists of getting jobs in the art world.

FAFSA: Let’s Do This!

Seniors and senior families: now’s the time to plan and prepare for next year, and completing the FAFSA is an important step in securing your future.

Completion of the Federal Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the first step for receiving money for college. Even if families do not qualify for federal aid, information reported from the FAFSA is what colleges use to determine what financial assistance they’ll offer.

Dr. Shelley offers the example of her own daughter, now a senior at Cornell, who has received funding from her college based on FAFSA reporting even though the Shelleys did not receive or qualify for federal assistance.

FAFSA funds also can be applied to trade or technical college, so even those students seeking vocational certification to enter the workforce directly can benefit from completing it. FAFSA money also can be used for junior colleges, such as SCF.

Money also is awarded to students even if their parents are undocumented.

Any students with questions about the FAFSA should see Mr. Andrews in the College and Career Room. For an easy 3-step guide to FAFSA completion, click here.

Families who complete the FAFSA should send the confirmation of successful processing to Rebecca Abrahamson at

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