Awards Page

Our students are constantly earning top awards in the arts and other practices. Below, we have posted a few of those for which we have received a formal submission concerning the award received. Enjoy.

Sreya Dharmapuri

Congratulations to Sreya Dharmapuri, 14, of East Brunswick, who is also a student at T. Schor Middle School, in Piscataway, NJ, and a powerful practitioner here at the AAHP. Sreya produced a competition piece here in our studio, which she submitted to the 2015 Mahatma Gandhi Art & Writing Contest, sponsored by the Association of Indians in America, South Jersey Chapter. Sreya was one of the 23 top winners chosen from among 1500 competition entries! The contest celebrates the Gandhian philosophy which embraces non-violence, racial harmony, and peace. Sreya’s artwork is now under yet another round of judging; if she wins the very top ranking she will receive this current award, and the very top award, both to be presented at Princeton University on October 11, 2015! Here at the AAHP, Sreya volunteers as a teacher’s assistant (coach). She also takes three hours of weekly studio classes and is engaged in AP art courses at her school. She also studies math, computer science, and music, among many other fields of knowledge, at which she excels. Sreya is a true asset to the AAHP and we wish her the best in the next round of awards.

Thomas Valenti

The entire AAHP Team warmly congratulates our outstanding student, Thomas C. “Tommy” Valenti, 16, of New Brunswick, NJ, for obtaining admissions to two prestigious pre-college summer programs in the arts, and a scholarship to top it off!

As for Mr. Valenti, he won a Silver Scholarship (cash prize, covering half of tution) and admissions to the 2015 Summer Seminar at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), in Savannah, Georgia, renown as one of the best colleges in the arts and design professions here in the USA. These awards will allow Mr. Valenti to participate in a week-long session of pre-college studies. Tommy expects to concentrate in 3D animation and comic book character development.

But that’s not all…

Mr. Valenti was also awarded a highly coveted position at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Summer 2015 Pre-College Program. This program allows promising college candidates to experience college life and work, including the burdens and responsibilities of dorm life, prior to actual college admission. This pre-college summer program runs for six weeks, five days a week. Mr. Valenti has declared Illustration as his pre-college major under this program.

You might remember that Mr. Valenti won 2nd Place for New Jersey during the nation-wide 2014 Art Contest sponsored by the US Congress; he plans to again enter the contest for 2015. He has studied with us at the AAHP for over five consecutive years, and his learning curve has done nothing but fly off all our charts. At this time, Mr. Valenti’s artist portfolio already reveals topmost skills and sensibilities, and his commitment to learning, exploration, and creative action. Noting his drive for excellence, his warm generosity, and his commitment to practice, we also offered him a position as Studio Coach. As such, Mr. Valenti serves students of all ages—including younger and older special needs artists—with upmost respect and attention to deep craft matters. Mr. Valenti also excels as a member of our Friday Work Crew, that is, our weekly studio safety and maintenance project. We wish him the best of circumstances, new friendships, fruitful professional connections, and lots of mind-expanding learning this summer!

Tianran Song

Our students routinely win the very top awards at local, regional, state, national and international contests. But each one is its unique special moment, an honor to both the student and to the AAHP Team.

We are now delighted to congratulate Tianran Song, 13, who won First Place in the 3rd to 5th Grade Category, state-wide, at the 2015 Art Completion sponsored by the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children (NJAGC). The contest theme was the portrayal of the association’s core program linking Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.).

The AAHP’s A. E. Soto-Canino, Director and Chief Instructor, and Aaron Balavram, Senior Instructor and Studio Manager, were honored to be invited as guests to Tianran’s award ceremony and breakfast, alongside Tianran and Mr. and Mrs. Song.

It is very tough to win prestigious, juried, top awards in a state-wide art contest. Tianran put in many extra hours of work in studio under a looming deadline, and despite her many other obligations at school and home, which she also satisfied. We salute Tianran’s quest for excellence in the arts and other aspects of her beautiful life. She makes us proud!


The AAHP warmly congratulates Isabella, age 11, and highly successful student here at the Academy of Art of Highland Park (AAHP). Isabella earned admissions to the Gifted and Talented Program in Visual Arts at a regional middle school. To earn admission, Isabella was asked to present five original artworks, and to then take a drawing test. During the test, candidates are asked to complete an unfinished image in color pencil. Isabella was very successful at all turns.

Isabella, who will also remain an apprentice here at the AAHP, is excited to begin the new program. “You definitely get to explore a lot of different media,” she said. “I also like that I’ll be able to [attend the program] with one of my friends who also is an artist.”

The AAHP wishes Isabella an exciting and transformative learning experience!

warningNote: The AAHP does not normally disclose full details on a youngster’s name, town, and school, even when granted parental permission to do so.