JUNE 2016

Florida School of the Arts honors graduates

FloArts group
Performing arts award
Academic Arts award
Visual Arts Award

Florida School of the Arts recently bid farewell to graduates now on their way to pursue careers in art galleries, on stage or behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Many will continue their education at universities before finding their niche in the arts. The College honored students who received their associate degrees in the visual and performing arts at the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus.

The commencement speech was given by Randall Tinnin, director of the University of North Florida’s School of Music. Tinnin is also a professor of trumpet at UNF’s Florida Music Flagship Program. He holds a master’s degree from The Juilliard School and a doctorate from Rutgers University. Tinnin addressed the graduates on not just making a living in the arts, but also creating a life in the arts, words of wisdom that included advice on being punctual and prepared, to advocating for the arts.

“Remember to give something back,” Tinnin said. “Remember to find it in your heart to create something beautiful, something that inspires you and helps other people... The world needs us to create beautiful things.”

Outstanding graduates were also recognized during the ceremony. The award for Outstanding Graduate in the Performing Arts was presented to Willie Beaton II. Beaton will continue his studies on a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

The award for Outstanding Graduate in the Visual Arts was presented to Paige Hurd. Hurd will continue her studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). The Outstanding Academic Achievement award was presented to Michael Baker. Baker has relocated to Atlanta, where he plans to break into Georgia’s booming film industry.

Florida School of the Arts graduates are as follows: Anthony Javier Antunez, Michael Joseph Baker, Dylan Bauer, Willie C. Beaton II, Kevin Maurice Beckam Jr., Kendahl Caitlyn Bermudez, Briar C. Boggs, Jade M. Campbell, Kassidy Will Canova, Isabella Carlsen, Jason Harold Cazella, Luis Raul Colon, Jason Nuno Correia, Janae Anya Donawa, Jibri Aaron DuRant, Danielle Marie English, Marielle Rose Erskine, Maisha Anna Esdaile, Elizabeth Jennie Exantus, Brendan Stephan Fogarty, Brittni Alexis Garcia, William Christian Gaston, Ilana Michelle Gould, Joseph M. Grosso, Savannah Lynn Healy, Paige Elizabeth Hurd, Jesse Patrick Irish, Megan Amelia Lee, Taylor Nicole Mancil, Linzee Mattingly Mancini, Eduardo Daniel Marin, Brandon Michael Mayes, Kayla Ann Neeper, Amber Nicole Nelson, Victoria Grace O’Dell, Daniel Ortega, Katelyn Marie Patterson, Ashlee Marie Philpott, Dion Ricardo Pratt Jr., Rosvic Siason, Tareca Kiana Siplin, Jennifer Anne Sparks, Whitney Lynn Stewart, Marc Anthony Toro, Daniel Scott Turnage and Emily Anne Vaughn.

Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree in the following areas of study: visual art, stage management, dance performance, theater technology, acting and musical theater. The School serves the entire state of Florida. Admission is based on an audition or portfolio review, an interview with the faculty and admission to SJR State. Students produce and perform in approximately four visual arts exhibitions and 10 performances each year. For more information about Florida School of the Arts call 386-312-4300 or visit online at

FloArts instructor Stephanie Masterson presents the award for Outstanding Graduate in the Performing Arts to Willie Beaton

AcademicAward: Dean of Florida School of the Arts Alain Hentschel announces Michael Joseph Baker as the recipient of the Outstanding Academic Achievement award

FloArts instructor Aaron Alexander presents the award for Outstanding Graduate in the Visual Arts to Paige Hurd.



Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020