Two New York City Youth Organizations Receive 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

First Lady Michelle Obama presents the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth P

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Young People’s Chorus of New York City for Positive Youth Outcomes

New York, NY (November 2, 2011)The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s Saturday Academies (GLSA) and Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC) have received the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. Chosen from a pool of more than 471 nominations and 50 finalists, GLSA and YPC were among 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the award—the highest honor such programs can receive in the United States. Today at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama presented student representatives Robert Sandoval and Stephan Douglas-Allen with the award, which recognizes community-based arts and humanities programs.

GLSA provides free elective courses for high school and middle school students on Saturday mornings and have helped more than ten thousand students gain a deeper knowledge of the humanities through American history, literature and arts classes. Run by the New York City-based Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the program is available at sites across the country, including:

  • Abraham Lincoln High School Saturday Academy (Brooklyn, New York)
  • Academy of American Studies Saturday Academy (Queens, New York)
  • Algiers Charter Schools Association (New Orleans, LA)
  • All Hallows Saturday Academy (Bronx, New York)
  • Andover High School Saturday Academy (Andover, Kansas)
  • Bishop Kearney High School Saturday Academy (Brooklyn, New York)
  • Brooklyn Historical Society (Brooklyn, New York)
  • Grants Pass High School Saturday Academy (Grants Pass, Oregon)
  • Heights High School Saturday Academy (Wichita, Kansas)
  • Monsignor Farrell High School Saturday Academy (Staten Island, New York)
  • Museum of the City of New York (New York, New York)
  • New Dorp High School Saturday Academy (Staten Island, New York)
  • New-York Historical Society Saturday Academy (Manhattan, New York)
  • Notre Dame Saturday Academy (Manhattan, New York)
  • Rutgers University (Newark, New Jersey)
  • Salesian High School Saturday Academy (New Rochelle, New York)
  • School Without Walls Saturday Academy (Washington, DC)
  • Spanish River Saturday Academy (Palm Beach County, Florida)

Eighteen-year-old Robert Sandoval is a senior at All Hallows High School in the South Bronx and has attended GLSA for six semesters. The program helped him achieve outstanding scores on his standardized history tests including the AP World, AP US, Regents Exams, and the US History SAT II. In the spring of 2012, he will graduate second in his class.

“Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academies have helped me gain a better understanding and deeper insight on topics in American History and sharpened my understanding of the past and its effects on the present,” said Robert Sandoval. “When I grow up I want to be able to look back at the memories and accomplishments in the journey of my educational career and the honor of receiving this award from First Lady Michelle Obama will for sure be a lifelong memory.”

“History education is critical not only to academic success but to good citizenship,” said James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academies help develop the minds and realize the potential of today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders. We are thrilled to receive this prestigious honor.”

Stephan Douglas-Allen has been a member of YPC since he was eight years old. Now a sophomore at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem, he is a leader in the Young Men’s Chorus, one of six YPC choral divisions. He has worked with many of today’s top composers and artists and has expanded his worldview by traveling with YPC for performances, competitions, and festivals in North America, Europe, and Asia. On YPC’s 2010 tour of Japan he sang the lead in the South African folk song “Tshotsholoza”—winning international praise for himself and the chorus.

“Receiving this award from the First Lady of the United States on behalf of YPC is such an honor,” said Stephan Douglas-Allen. “As a member of YPC I have learned that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, and traveling from Harlem to so many countries has given me a whole new perspective on my place in the global community. I believe my time in YPC is an amazing preparation for facing life and its challenges, especially as I get ready for college.”

‘We are exceedingly grateful to the First Lady and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities for the incredible acknowledgment this award gives to the Young People’s Chorus of New York City,” said Francisco J. Núñez, Artistic Director/Founder, Young People’s Chorus of New York City. “Receiving this prestigious award makes our young people know that they are part of a great program that is benefiting so many other children, and the fact that the First Lady is presenting the awards to the children of these organizations is so telling. At a time of severe cutbacks in arts education, here is the White House saying, ‘This is important.’”

Administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the award honors community-based arts and humanities programs that make a marked difference in the lives of their participants by improving academic scores and graduation rates, enhancing life skills, developing positive relationships with peers and adults, and expressing themselves creatively.

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of the prestigious award, organizations each receive $10,000 to support their programming and engage more young people from the community.

About The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. The awards recognize and support outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day. These programs excite and engage a range of students, cultivating imagination, collaboration, discipline and academic success, with demonstrable results. They also provide safe harbors after school, on weekends and evenings for children and youth in some of our country’s most at-risk urban and rural settings. For more information, visit

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. Gilder Lehrman creates and works closely with history-focused schools through its Affiliate School Program; organizes teacher seminars and development programs; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and US territory; and offers national book prizes. The Gilder Lehrman website,, serves as a gateway to American history online with rich resources for educators designed specifically for K–12 teachers and students.

About YPC
Founded in 1988 by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Francisco J. Núñez, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ provides children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a unique program of music education and choral performance, while advancing a model of artistic excellence and humanity that enriches the community. YPC has become among today’s most celebrated and influential children’s choruses and a social model being adopted by other cities and underdeveloped countries. More than 1,200 children from seven to 18 participate annually through YPC’s core after-school program, its Satellite program in New York City schools and its national affiliates in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Tenafly, New Jersey. The resident chorus at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, YPC provides children with the life skills to lead a fulfilling life, such as responsibility, teamwork, and punctuality, and through its touring programs, the opportunity to gain a world perspective. It’s a YPC imperative that all graduating choristers, no matter what their background, go on to higher education with help from the organization’s College Bound program. YPC holds almost a dozen gold medals won in international choral competitions and has performed on four continents, most recently in Brazil, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. For 2012, YPC has accepted invitations to perform in Stockholm, Sweden; Beijing, China at the World Choral Summit; and at Polyfollia in Normandy, France. More information is available from