Fine Arts Scholarship Signing Breakfast Held This Morning


By Nicole Zelazko

Students gathered in the Student Commons on the morning of Thursday, May 18 for the Fine Arts scholarship signing breakfast. This was the first year the event took place.

Art teacher Deanna Sortino pioneered the idea. She decided it was time to recognize the students who have spent countless hours on their craft and that earning an art scholarship is a notable achievement. Sortino also recognized the students’ parents for supporting them through this endeavor.

“Every time I saw a news story about another Niles West athlete signing with a college, I kept asking myself, ‘Why are our fine and applied art students not being recognized for the scholarships they are receiving?'” Sortino said. “Both sets of students have worked incredibly hard on crafting a particular skill, and they should all be recognized for their hard work and dedication–no matter if that skill is for football, art, music, etc.”

Director of Fine Arts Patti Anne Ford firmly believes that the most rewarding feeling as an educator is to know their department has played a significant role in a student’s life, especially those who are pursuing their art in college. Ford planned for the event to push students to recognize that they are capable of taking the skills they acquired at West to push their work forward.

“I think we continue to fight against the stereotype of the starving artist. Our students are not starving- in fact, they are thriving and being called upon for a wealth of opportunities,” Ford said.

Senior Edie Alvarado believes the department should make the signing annual. Alvarado has been a critical piece of the Fine Arts Department since her freshman year, and she will continue her art on a scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design.

“I am extremely grateful for the Fine Arts Department here at West. This year had more in store than I could have ever imagined, and it was unforgettable to spend this final moment with all my peers who will keep continuing in the field,” Alvarado said.
A list of the students who signed this morning follows:


Edie Alvarado Deanna Sortino Savannah College of Art and Design Visual Arts $72,000
Sarahi Rodriguez Deanna Sortino Northern Illinois University Visual Arts $84,960
Jenna Moore Deanna Sortino Arizona State University Visual Arts $4,000
Jazmin Alvarado Deanna Sortino Tribeca Flashpoint Visual Arts $70,000
Zach Montalvo Deanna Sortino Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design or SCAD Visual Arts $68,000
Daniella Thach John Zilewicz School of the Art Institute Chicago Visual Arts $79,000
Angela Christodoulou John Zilewicz School of the Art Institute Chicago Visual Arts $72,000
Isabel Pimentel John Zilewicz Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Visual Arts $60,000
Collin Menzimer John Zilewicz Rocky Mt. College of Art & Design Visual Arts $2,800
Alex Banh John Zilewicz Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Visual Arts $68,000
Brendan O’Shaungessy John Zilewicz University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Horticulture & Visual Arts $20,000
Chester Beck Matthew Hunter Belmont University Music $32,000
Junica Cruz Matthew Hunter North Park University Music $12,000
Raciel Millan Matthew Hunter North Park University Music $12,000
Alana Knobel Andy Sinclair American Musical and Dramatic Academy Theatre $6,000.00
Stephanie Gubin Andy Sinclair DePaul University Music $25,000.00
Mia Sostrin Steve Katz Niles West Music Parents Association Accolades Scholarship Music $500