USD 231

OVERLAND PARK, KS – February 23, 2021 – The Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) announces 93 finalists have been nominated for the 2021 Shooting Stars Awards. The Shooting Stars Program promotes the positive impact arts education has on our students by honoring student achievement in the literary, performing and visual arts, providing students with resources to help them achieve their creative career goals, awarding scholarships for college and supporting teachers with honorariums. 

All finalists will be recognized and Shooting Stars scholarship award recipients will be announced at the virtual Shooting Stars Gala on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

“This special recognition program was created in 1997 by former ACJC chairman Bob Endres,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, ACJC Executive Director. “Bob’s vision was to create a program that celebrated young Johnson County artists for their artistic excellence in high school. Only the best of the best high school artists are chosen to participate in the Shooting Stars Program.” 

Since its founding, the Shooting Stars program has awarded more than $400,000 in college scholarships and $65,000 in teacher honorariums. At the Virtual Shooting Stars Gala on April 18, 2021, nine first place scholarships of $1,400 each, nine second place scholarships of $700 each and nine teacher honorariums of $300 each will be awarded. The program is supported by Johnson County and area foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Students are nominated by their Arts teachers for this recognition. Arts teachers from schools throughout Johnson County are invited to nominate students each year. Students who live in Johnson County but attend school outside of the county also may be nominated by their Arts teachers. 

To participate in Shooting Stars, students must meet these criteria:

> be in the 12th grade and will graduate in the spring;

> live in Johnson County, Kansas;

> be nominated by an Arts teacher from their high school, and submit an application.

Nominations were accepted from October 30 - November 10, 2020 and applications from October 30 – November 18, 2020. After being selected as a finalist, the high school seniors will audition or submit a portfolio of work for review by independent judges in the following categories.

 Literature (7 finalists)

Photography (10 finalists)

Production and Design (4 finalists)

Strings (6 finalists)

Theatre Performance (15 finalists)

Three-Dimensional Art (12 finalists)

Two-Dimensional Art (19 finalists)

Voice Classical (11 finalists) and

Winds and Percussion (9 finalists)

“The arts are essential to supporting critical thinking skills and fostering creativity and community,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, Arts Council of Johnson County Executive Director. “We know that especially during this year students’ passion for the arts is playing an important role; helping them stay connected, career-ready and helping them manage unexpected challenges.”

Congratulations to the following GEHS students for being selected as finalists:

Theatre Performance

Annie Kuzma, nominated by Jason Hagg 

Voice Classical

Riley Pembleton, nominated by Kelli Baker 

Production & Design

Josie Smith nominated by Jason Hagg

 2D Visual Art

Bethany Stuart, nominated by Toni Britt 

3D Visual Art

Alli Butler, nominated by Barb McCormick 

 Photography

Emma Crouch, nominated by Hannah Kemp