Otto Kahn Scholarship Awards Three from Whitman

Left to right: Whitman’s Otto Kahn Award winners: Jonathan Heller, Raquelle Viteri, and Olivia Marchionda.
Left to right: Whitman’s Otto Kahn Award winners: Jonathan Heller, Raquelle Viteri, and Olivia Marchionda.
Jonathan Heller performing for the Garden Party guests.
Jonathan Heller performing for the Garden Party guests.
Raquelle Viteri performing at OHEKA Castle.
Raquelle Viteri performing at OHEKA Castle.
Olivia Marchionda wowed the audience.
Olivia Marchionda wowed the audience.
Frank Yolango, standing right conducts the Chamber Orchestra.
Frank Yolango, standing right conducts the Chamber Orchestra.
Allan Dietz, standing left conducting the Whitman Jazz Band.
Allan Dietz, standing left conducting the Whitman Jazz Band.
OHEKA owner Mr. Gary Melius, left with Friends VP, Greg Genovese and Friends President, Ellen Schaffer award Jonathan Heller.
OHEKA owner Mr. Gary Melius, left with Friends VP, Greg Genovese and Friends President, Ellen Schaffer award Jonathan Heller.
Mr. Gary Melius, left with Ellen Schaffer and Greg Genovese award Raquelle Viteri.
Mr. Gary Melius, left with Ellen Schaffer and Greg Genovese award Raquelle Viteri.
Mr. Gary Melius, left with Ellen Schaffer and Greg Genovese award Olivia Marchionda.
Mr. Gary Melius, left with Ellen Schaffer and Greg Genovese award Olivia Marchionda.
Ryan Capozzo and Joseph Cairl, returned to perform for the Garden Party audience.
Ryan Capozzo and Joseph Cairl, returned to perform for the Garden Party audience.

The Friends of OHEKA held their annual Garden Party on Wednesday evening celebrating 30 years of growth since owner Gary Melius discovered the dilapidated castle and began restoring it to the splendor of the Great Gatsby era. A large part of the evening is dedicated to the Otto Kahn Scholarship Awards and we are proud to announce that Walt Whitman students held a commanding presence.

These awards honor Otto Kahn’s love and contribution to the arts. Congratulations to Jonathan Heller, Olivia Marchionda, and Raquelle Viteri who all received awards to assist them as they continue their studies next fall in college.

From his first musical “The King and I” in the third grade, to his senior year of high school where he performed in “A Wonderful Town” and “Legally Blonde” the stage has been Jonathan Heller’s second home. But his true love is performing classical music, so this fall, Jonathan will attend the Eastman Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.

“In my 40 years of teaching I have never found a student who is able to balance their motivation for success along with the desire to help others like Olivia,” said Judith Leopold, NYSSMA Choral Curriculum Chair. Olivia Marchionda is a very special young lady who is truly an extraordinary musician. Olivia will be attending Hofstra University in the fall.

“I have known Raquelle Viteri for the past four years and during that time she had developed into one of the finest young leaders I have known,” said Mr. Frank Yolango, Orchestra Director and Tri-M Advisor at Whitman. “She has creatively and generously helped coordinate community service opportunities for our students and I have been so impressed with her commitment to our community and school.”

One of the highlights of the evening was a performance by 2 Whitman alumni who returned for a duo and received a standing ovation. Thank you and congratulations to Joseph Cairl and Ryan Capozzo.

Partygoers were entertained throughout the evening by two of Whitman’s finest musical groups. As guests strolled the grounds and greeted friends, the Walt Whitman Chamber Orchestra directed by Frank Yolango provided a perfect backdrop. Later in the evening, as the sun set and dinner was complete, the sounds of Jazz filled the air, and you knew it had to be the award winning Whitman Jazz Band under the direction of Allan Deitz.

Congratulations to all of our talented musicians and especially to our Otto Kahn Award winners: Jonathan Heller, Olivia Marchionda, and Raquelle Viteri.