Akili Artists Accepted to NOCCA are Pursuing Their Dreams


Akili Academy believes in developing the skills of each individual scholar and addressing their needs academically, socially, and emotionally. Students’ talents are celebrated, and they have the opportunity to grow them through a robust academic program, outstanding teachers, and exceptional enrichment offerings. These supports, as well as a full-time advisor dedicated to assisting students and families with navigating the complicated path to high school admission, have provided the foundation for three young ladies to successfully complete the selective application and audition process for acceptance into NOCCA.

Jovan and Na’Shey will grow their fine art talents in NOCCA’s visual arts program. Asia, the first student from Akili to be accepted into NOCCA’s culinary arts program, will pursue her dream of becoming a chef.

NOCCA is a pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in their area of interest. NOCCA was founded in 1973 by a diverse coalition of artists, educators, business leaders, and community activists who saw the need for an institution devoted to our region’s young talent. The invitation to audition for admission is extended only after completing an extensive essay and interviewing process.  

When asked about how they felt about being accepted to this prestigious school, each girl openly showed her joy. Jovan said, “I am excited to go to NOCCA because art is my passion!” Na’shey smiled and said, “I am excited to go to NOCCA because I’ll get to learn different things about my craft.” Aspiring chef Asia was thoughtful about this new opportunity and shared, “I want to go to NOCCA because it’s diverse.”

Coral Cyzewski is the Transition Coordinator and 6-8th Grade English Language Arts Intervention Teacher at Akili. Ms.Cyzewski helps students identify their passions and talents as part of the process of selecting high schools, “I love assisting students and families with the high school application process. In a city where there is so much choice about where students go to school, I believe it is important for every family to have information about all the different options available to them. This allows families and students to make the best choice for their future.” Akili is celebrating that 100% of their eighth graders successfully completed the high school application process.

Melinda Bruns is the 5th-8th Grade Art/Enrichment Teacher at Akili and shared her thoughts around her students continuing to pursue their dreams, “Children as talented as ours at Akili deserve every opportunity to show their gifts to the world. By supporting the arts we ensure that these young people’s voices will be heard, and their creativity will continue to inspire for years to come.”

Akili is continually refining the extra-curricular growth opportunities for its scholars and is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence with all of its programs. It is certain that these young scholars who will attend NOCCA will continue on in the Akili way. “At Akili, we believe that quality enrichment experiences for our scholars are just as important as an excellent academic education. From gifted art, to 3D printing in technology, from competitive sports to concert band, there is something for every child to develop their unique talents. Every year we are proud to  watch our scholars move on to NOCCA and other excellent high schools in our city and we know that a high quality enrichment program is a key to future success,” shared Allison Lowe, Akili Principal.