Teen Talent Contest Winner Named Candidate in Presidential Scholars Program

Burks in “9 to 5: The Musical”
Photos courtesy of Lucy Burks

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Juliet Burks, a senior at Palisades Charter High School and winner of the 2019 Pacific Palisades Teen Talent Contest, is one of 60 Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates for the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts is a recognition program and one of the nation’s highest honors, recognizing some of the most distinguished graduating seniors for their academic and artistic achievements.

YoungArts, the core program of the National YoungArts Foundation, nominates 60 candidates following their participation in the annual YoungArts Competition.

Burks was invited by YoungArts to Miami in October 2019 to audition for the panel of judges a second time, since winning the National YoungArts Foundation Competition in Theatre in January.

“It is a very prestigious competition, and they know that the students there are very committed to their craft and very passionate about what they’re doing,” Burks said about the YoungArts competition.

In Miami, Burks performed two monologues and a song for the judges, as well as had the opportunity to share the many ways she engages with her community.

Burks mentioned her organization, Knit for the Needy, where she knits sweaters to donate to St. John’s Hospital and her work with L.A. Goal, an educational facility for adults with developmental disabilities.

Burks proved that she was an exuberant candidate and ecstatically received the news on January 21 that she was a nominee.

Of the 60, up to 20 will be selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts; The U.S. Department of Education announces the Scholars in May.

Students who are selected are invited to Washington, D.C., on an expense-paid trip in June where they will be celebrated at a ceremony sponsored by the White House. Scholars will also receive a Presidential Medallion on behalf of the president of the United States.

Until then, Burks has something else on her mind—college.

“I feel like I grew a lot over the summer artistically and realized for sure that musical theater and theater—just basically being in the arts—is what I want to do for my career,” Burks said to the Palisadian-Post.

“I’m applying to a wide variety of schools because I’m very academically driven as well as committed to doing theater … I’m pretty certain that wherever I am, I know that I can make the best of whatever resources are available to me.”