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Welcome to Friends of School of the Arts

A group of passionate not-for-profit Board members, called Friends of School of the Arts, focus their energies on responding to student needs at School of the Arts. The majority of these 1200 students are able to more fully participate in their arts education programs with financial support from Friends.

Friends is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that supports the school’s mission by providing financial support and guidance to promote the academic, artistic and humanistic success of School of the Arts’ students. Friends of School of the Arts fills in the gaps with community support to promote positive outcomes for School of the Arts students by supporting everything from college and career prep, to student performances and master classes, to scholarships and personal needs.

Fundraising events and grants are the primary source of funding. Friends invites our students, families and the broader community to learn more about its work. Please consider making a donation and join Friends in making student success our mutual goal.

Friends of School of the Arts

Photo courtesy Ken Riemer Photography

Read our latest 'Friends to Friends' NewsletterFrom Friends to Friends Newsletter

Below is a sampling of the articles you'll find in the Spring 2014 Newsletter. Click here to download the latest issue. Click here to download the Fall/Winter 2013 issue.

Matan Presberg was named News10NBC’s Scholar Athlete of the Week on February 5th. Matan has a 4.2 GPA, has taken 9 AP courses and will receive his diploma as Salutorian in June. Matan runs cross country and track for SOTA, swims for the SOTA East combined team. and tutors students on his athletic teams. He has applied to Princeton, MIT and Cornell. Congratulations, Matan and good luck in college!

A Letter from Eileen Scardino President, Friends of School of the Arts

Dear Friends,

“Friends help me soar”: that is the theme of this year’s annual campaign for Friends of SOTA. I certainly saw a lot of soaring during SOTA’s Commencement Academy Awards Night last June. Our students have accomplished so much, often in spite of difficult circumstances. Jean immigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo and found his way to SOTA where he soared on the dance floor. Nah’Tivah will be the first in her family to attend college. Tripe C Award winner David doesn’t let his disability stand in the way of success. Ryder received the Louis Armstrong Award and a scholarship to study jazz at Eastman School of Music. Outstanding young women Madeline won a PEO Star Scholarship, and Hannah won a Smith Book Award. So many other students were also recognized for their achievements that night.

What made the difference for these kids and helped them to achieve so much? I firmly believe it was their School of the Arts education, the guidance of SOTA’s exceptional teachers and staff and the students’ support of each other. Have you seen SOTA students greet each other? More often than not they hug. I’ve seen this happen at coffee shops, shows, concerts, and even a dojo. At each graduation ceremony the students rise and cheer for their own. Students from all arts majors work together and celebrate each other’s success. Friends of School of the Arts is honored to support these students.

In 2012-13 we allocated over $23,000 in funds and touched the life of a student, in ways both big and small, 2500 times. For 2013-14 we have already secured funding for workshops at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League, master classes with local writers and students’ personal needs. We want to do more, including the establishment of a STEM scholarship fund and support for college- and career-readiness programs.

None of this would be possible without help from our donors, volunteers, and sponsors. You enable us to succeed in our mission to promote the academic, artistic and humanistic success of SOTA students. With your continued support we will continue to help our student’s soar.


Eileen Scardino

Eileen Scardino President, Friends of School of the Arts

Friendship 2012-13

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