May 24, 2024

Hills West is currently ranked number 16 of the best public high schools in New York according to Niche. And as one of the top rated schools in the state, it is home to various programs and very talented students. 

Two of these students are seniors Hana Draskin and Gioianna DiGiorgio. Both of them have recently received Scholar-Artist Awards from the Long Island Arts Alliance. The awards were granted to them as a recognition of their efforts in music. 

Hana Draskin has been immersed in music for most of her life; singing from  a young age. This has always been either a creative outlet for her, or just simply something to pass the time. She shares that “it’s an amazing way to get everything out, it is such a stress reliever”. 

Growing up in a household full of athletes, Hana was somewhat expected to fall into that category as well. And she was for a while, but after receiving her first solo, she knew she had to purse music. 

With the encouragement of Mrs. Martufi, the choral teacher at Hills West, Hana applied for the scholarship program. “She came up to me and asked if I wanted to apply to the Long Island Art Alliance for Music. At that time I only had heard of it because I went to a different program and heard about it then. Then I applied and it was pretty simple and just from there is where I heard I got accepted for the merit scholarship.”Hana plans to pursue music in college as well. She shares that she’s “applying to some schools for music which is contemporary voice, some for music education and some schools for musical theater.” Her top choice is Northeastern University.

Gioianna DiGiorgio is known by everyone for her love of music and acting. These two are very welled combined in her passion for musical theatre. And unlike Hana, Gioianna grew up in a household dedicated to theatre. Growing up, she and her siblings would dress up and just act and sing. 

Her older brother also received this award several years ago, which pushed her harder in order to receive it. Immediately after receiving the award, Gioianna called her brother to let him know. 

To her, music is “a connection to nature and other people. It’s such a wonderful way to tell a story and to just express yourself and your emotions.” Gioianna has been singing since she could walk, and she really could not imagine her life without music. Her top two schools are Carnegie Mellon University and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for musical theatre. 

According to Gioianna, “this award stands out because it’s not just artistic, it’s scholarly and it shows that not only have I practiced my craft well but also work extremely hard academically.”

These two students have achieved so much and we’re proud to see them do great things in the music department. Congratulations to Hana Draskin and Gioianna DiGiorgio for receiving Scholar-Artist Award.