First Place ($2,000): Pour Vous, Encore

The first place winner of the 2018-2019 Caffrey Welles Fine Arts Award was Calista Uher for her multimedia project Pour Vous Encore. This is Calista’s second time winning the Arts Award. Her project can be found here


Second Place ($1,000): Sean MacBeth

Alana Germano, Jadelyn Perez, Kitzia Ramirez & Stephen Franckiewicz won second place with their modern retelling of MacBeth set in E. L. Meyers High entitled Sean MacBeth. Their video can be found here


Third Place ($400): Be Strong

Ashley Ventura - Aguilar won third place for her story “Be Strong” about a family of immigrants struggling to improve their lives. Her story can be found here


Fourth Place ($250): Desecrated Angel

Lennese Prince won fourth place with her epic poem entitled Desecrated Angel. Her poem can be found here

Fifth Place ($150): The Girl He Lost

Kelis Quiller won fifth place with her short story The Girl He Lost. Her story can be found here


Participation Awards ($50): 

Earning unranked participation Awards for this year were Kayla Franco and her collection of poetry found here, Aniyah Vital and her online gallery found here, Kaede Goodeliunas and her Swim pump-up video, Emily Buracemi for her essay on climate change found here, Michaela Barney and her drawing titled “Blinded”, Teagan Staudenmeier for her photography and short story found here and here. Aidan McFarlane for his original poem found here, Danielle Elias for her poem about Winter, Christopher Kopiak and Samantha Ashford for their short science fiction story found here, Ada Soriano for her collection of poetry found here, Patrick Franckiewicz for his original photography found here, Taylor Hall for her poetry found here, Katrina Concepcion for her original artwork found here, Samaria Brown for her artistic Video found here, Cody Dulis for her gallery of original artwork found here, Rosy Sosa for her artistic video edits found here, Isabelle Davies for her essay on the roman emperor Nero, Bailey Smallcomb for her short story The Man in the Shadows, Tio Marello and Patrick Franckiewicz for their animated video found here and Sarah Newman for her original mural found here.

Speech Given at the Awards Ceremony: 

Carla Iseman spoke during the Major Awards ceremony at E. L. Meyers High to present the Arts Award. The transcript of her speech is below: 

Hi! It’s a little weird to have to follow my little brother in a situation like this since he’s the only one that I am older than in the family…I’m supposed to be before him!  Anyway, thank you Adam.  And again, thank you to the fantastic faculty of Meyers.   

It really is because of the faculty here that we find ourselves fortunate enough to be able to give out these awards. Everyone throughout my years of school have always stressed that it’s up to you- the student- to just put in the hard work and the grades and successes will follow. 

Well when you’re 12-18 years old, it’s really hard to just “do the work.”  That’s where these motivational, inspirational, eager, tireless, creative teachers come into the picture.  I don’t care what kind of student you are, if you don’t have a teacher that inspires you or ignites that spark in you, you’re not going to blossom to your full potential.

For me, that happened in our physics class my junior year.  I say “our” because I not only my twin brother in that class but I also had my little brother in it too.  My oldest brother Luke convinced my parents to push for Adam to be able to take that with us as a Freshman because the amazing physics teacher Mr Butwin was retiring after that year. It was in that class that I learned about the physics of light and how it moves through the human eye.  That started the spark for me.

So why aren’t I talking about the STEM award?  Why am I presenting the Caffrey Wells Fine Arts Award? It’s because after I had to work through Mr. Butwin’s physics homework, Mr. Elias’s homework- which was really never that difficult- and all the other STEM classes that I had to focus on, I would reset and relax my mind with the arts.

I would read every night before bed- sometimes for social studies and English class- but mainly for pleasure.  I would devour movies and music on the weekends and have been consistently inspired by relatives who have made their careers out of the arts.  To me, the arts were- and still are- a place for my mind to go to relax, recharge, and find more inspiration.

So combining the spark of interest from physics class, and the recharged, calm mindset that the arts gave me I was able to harness my mind to get through classes here, in undergrad, and optometry school to become an eye doctor. Part of what both myself and my husband- also an eye doctor-do at our practice is focus on a patient’s visual perception. Visual perception is how the eyes take in information and how the brain uses it.  We then have use ways to test and measure how to change that visual perception to make the eyes and brain work together more efficiently and smoothly.  One of the other things that greatly affects visual perception is color. 

The human eye can only perceive limited colors as we know it… but the way color is perceived in one patient to the next can greatly affect how they learn, how they grow, and how their brain talks to their other senses. We use that in our office to help patients every day.  I won’t bore you with the details of how everything connects to the eyes in the brain but it really is a daily reminder of how one’s perception can affect them in every way. 

I also get to see this with one particular patient…my dad.  As he goes through the chemo and the healing process he’s used his artistic skills as a writer to finish a novel.  His art is helping distract his mind from the science that is so crucial in healing him.  He is able to control his perception of his situation through his art.

And art is all about perception. 

When someone looks at an abstract painting with lines, colors, and no apparent, recognizable shape, their reaction to say “oh my gosh it’s so deep and angry”  is just as valid as the next person who says it looks like a toddler scribbled across the page.  Someone that presents a short haiku poem that they’ve spent hours and hours refining is just as much an artist as someone who spends years working on a mural.  Art is all about perception. 

With modern technology art is able to be more than just visible media too and that is entirely due to advancements in STEM.   So when I see that we have 26 Caffrey Wells fine arts applications this year and only 7 BEST applicants, it kind of disheartens me because the two- science and the arts- are so intertwined in my mind and my world. So I challenge you applicants- and those out there that are just bored with school on a daily basis- to find the science behind your art and the art behind your science.

Find how the lenses on your camera work when you’re doing photography and taking selfies, find the different materials that change the texture and pigment of your paint or pencil mediums, learn the basic coding for your social media pages and use it to enhance your digital canvas…. research color and design for your STEM tutorials and prototype products… and consider both categories of awards next year.  Do not limit yourself to one category because both are so interconnected. Yea, it might be hard to be just as inspired by one versus the other but in trying to learn something new you’ll have to talk to these teachers to help you…and that brings us right back to the beginning. 

Use these amazing resources that are your teachers here at Meyers to help you find your spark. We did. And we’re so grateful that the majority of them helped us to explore and foster that inspiration to the paths that led to our career choices.

With that in mind I would like to thank all of the applicants- in both categories- for their hard work and inspiring content.  Each Arts application was perceived differently from one judge to the next and that’s part of the beauty of the Arts Award.  Those perceptual differences are what keeps the arts competitive and constantly changing.  So we are grateful for the variety of applicants and their projects.  Without further ado, let’s get to those specific projects. 

Similar to the BEST award everyone that submits a valid project is guaranteed the participation award of $50 dollars.  The top 5 projects then get increasingly higher cash awards from $150 dollars to our top prize of $2000 dollars.  Cash for your own art? You’re already ahead of half of the Freshman class at NYU…

Let’s get to the participation awards… and let’s hear some encouragement for each of these artists!


Donors Who Are Totally Awesome: 

The Iseman Foundation is funded by awesome people who give their hard earned money to help encourage kids to start their journeys in science and technology and the arts. Thank you so much to everyone that continues to support getting kids interested in starting pursuits that they will explore for the rest of their lives!