From high school prom to the Kennedy Center, these teenagers dazzle

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I had to take a selfie with Gabriela Campo so I could prove I knew her when.

I had to take a selfie with Gabriela Campo so I could prove I knew her when.

When I met Gabriela Campo outside the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts a few weeks ago, she told me she was doing a juice fast.

“Prom,” she explained.

While this newly-minted high school graduate looks and behaves like any other young woman her age, she’s also about to have an experience few 17-year olds do: Next week, she’ll perform at the Kennedy Center of the Arts in Washington, Dc, under the direction of Bill T. Jones.

The appearance is part of being named one of 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts nationally.  And Campo isn’t the only area student to be chosen.

Angela Francis of Bishop Montgomery HS was awarded a $10k gold scholarship.
Angela Francis of Bishop Montgomery HS was awarded a $10,000 gold scholarship.

Angela Francis, a recent graduate of Bishop Montgomery High School, also received the honor for her work as a photographer.  (She’ll be attending Boston University to study photojournalism, where she won a full scholarship.)  Her photography will be displayed at the Smithsonian next week and through August during a special exhibition for Presidential Scholars in the visual arts.

“My lens is my pen. I am a photographer, an illustrator and guardian of history,” she writes in her artist statement, and you can see some of her work here.

For her part, Campo will apply her scholarship money to her studies at Pace University, where she plans to earn a BFA in Musical Theater.  But while she hopes to perform professionally, she also wants to come back to her high school some day–as a mentor.

“I would love to teach here because I think it would be so fulfilling to teach kids like me who have an extreme amount of passion for what they’ve do,” she said.  “I’ve had so many mentors who’ve helped me in time of self-doubt that I’d love to do that for someone else.”