The 11 recipients, their parents and friends joined the Angels Board, Angels members, faculty and staff for dessert and coffee for this intimate ceremony. Board President Barbara Kroe addressed the audience and introduced Committee Chair Ron Stenson, who described the process. Dean Bart McHenry presided over the ceremony introducing each recipient, who performed, presented or discussed their particular medium.
Tod Burnett, Saddleback College President, stated “The Angels for the Arts at Saddleback College should be highly-commended for their continuous and dedicated support to our students and performing and visual arts programs. I would like to extend my warmest of congratulations to our student scholarship winners, whose talents are an inspiration throughout our campus and community.
Golnaz Lessani, Pianist, Music Department: “To be a musician is to be free to create, to interpret and to express oneself. Where I come from, a place 7,569 miles away, to be a musician is to be suppressed. I grew up in a country known for its lack of freedom, Iran. I see myself moving to the musician’s mecca, New York City, for some performing experience and to seek out schools so I can achieve my master’s degree. After completing school, I would enjoy touring and performing around the world.”
Vanessa Donofrio, Artist/Printmaker, Visual Arts Department: “A dear friend of mine and a talented artist taught me to watercolor. Her life changed dramatically after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I continued to go over to her house and watercolor with her until she could no longer paint. Even after her passing, her passion lives on in her masterpieces hanging on my wall. I could only hope to be lucky enough to create art until the very end of my life too. I know that it is my calling to teach and facilitate art with others. Art, printmaking and teaching art to adults and children with special needs are my life.”
Shadi Ghaheri, Director, Theatre Arts Department: “Theatre is the most powerful magic I have known in my life. I believe in the power of theatre, lifting the artist and the audience to a fuller experience of their humanity, transporting them deeply into their capacity for empathy, compassion and creativity.”
Solana Price, Actor, Theatre Arts Department: “The craft of acting is constant growth and constant learning. Theatre brings light to my days and gives me a reason to wake up every morning and be a better person for myself and for others.”
Stephanie Hepner, Actor, Theatre Arts Department: “At nineteen, having just moved here from Argentina, I stepped into Acting 1 and fell in love. I found that I was able to express myself, experiment and explore the experiences of others. I could dig deep into societal idiosyncrasies and life lessons learned by observing human behavior.”
Sosan Sayed, Fashion Designer, Fashion Department: “I’ve been continuously building a network and collaborating with other aspiring designers. I have volunteered at several fashion shows and events. I helped hand sew and hand bead many of the garments in the Marisa Kenson fashion show. I also competed in the “Trashin Fashion Contest” at the Aquarium of the Pacific and created a completely recycled non-textile garment. My passion and dream has always been to have my own successful business and clothing line with my sister.”
Brandon Petersen, Video Production, CTVR Department: “At Saddleback, students make films. Literally minutes before I sat down to write this, Mark Kruhmin, Head of SCTV, asked me to camera operate on another project that Channel 39 is producing later this month. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be part of a scholastic community where opportunities abound. The CTVR program is without a doubt the most satisfying educational experience I’ve ever gone through and I plan to use it to catapult me into the life I have always envisioned for myself, working in Hollywood.”
Brittany Lockhart, Dancer, Dance Department: “I only started thinking about dance as a career during my first semester at Saddleback when I was fortunate enough to be able to see the Diavolo Dance Theatre perform. My first modern dance class led to performances at the Big Band Swing Thing, The Human Chess Project, The Rite of Spring, ArchiTexture Dance as well as being selected to attend the 2013 American College Dance Festival.”
Ariel Savage, Filmmaker, CTVR Department: “For a while I wanted to be an anthropologist so I could spend my life studying people. It was not until I attended UC Santa Cruz that I realized I wanted to be a filmmaker. To me admitting you want to enter into an industry built on dreams is a brave thing to do. I did it though and once I did, I never regretted it. Three films that I’ve produced or directed screened this past April at the Newport Beach Film Festival. I entered Saddleback knowing nothing about how to make a movie, now, after benefiting from the incredible tutelage of the CTVR department, I have confidence in myself as a filmmaker and I have made many great connections that I will keep for years to come.”
Mark Hay, Costume Design, Theatre Arts: “In Spring 2012, I enrolled in the Costume Design class. The class designed and created costumes for three productions. Each production had different challenges and required extensive research that covered the historical period, the style and genre of the play, the director’s vision of the piece and the articulation of the design as seen by the costume designer of each show, Diane Lewis. The journey of the character is revealed by what they wear. This fascinates me and stimulates my creative imagination. Costume design is home for me.”