Oct. 14, 2013/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



Four additional high school seniors are commended students

(Winston-Salem) Jill Lane, Headmaster and Dean of the High School Academic Program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), has announced that two students are National Merit Semifinalists. Patricia Tanzer, a high school senior studying organ and in her third year of study in the School of Music, is the daughter of Susan and Kevin Tanzer of McLeansville; and Darian “Colson” Dorafshar, a School of Drama student who is in his first year at UNCSA, is the son of Bahman and Hollis Walsh Dorafshar of Raleigh.

Four other UNCSA high school seniors are National Merit Commended Students. They are:

·         Mary Mollie Foster, a trumpet player in the School of Music who is in her third year at UNCSA. She is the daughter of Susan and William Foster of Winston-Salem;

·         Asa Gardiner, a School of Drama student who is in his first year at UNCSA. He is the son of Edward Gardiner and Christine Laporte Gardiner of Asheville;

·         Elizabeth “Liz” Ciociola, a ballet student in the School of Dance who is in her fourth year at UNCSA. She is the daughter of Catherine Hinkle and Arthur Ciociola of Raleigh; and

·         Jennifer Xiao, a student in the Visual Arts Program of the School of Design and Production, who is in her second year at UNCSA. She is the daughter of Qunpan and Meiwu Xiao of Concord.

Approximately 1.5 million students participate in the National Merit Scholarship Competition each year.  Of those, 16,000 (the top  1%) are recognized as semifinalists and 34,000 (the next 2.3%) are recognized as commended students. In February, roughly 15,000 of the semifinalists will be announced as finalists and will be eligible for college scholarships.

National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.