Our prestigious annual Academy Award winners...

Each year we recognize exceptional students at our prestigious Academy Awards event at the end of the school year... 

Below are the winner's from last year and a special excerpt about each one of them personally written by their Academy program instructor! 

Be sure to check out our events calendar for when this year's Academy Awards will be held (and other amazing Academy events as well), because we would love for you and your family to join us!! 

(Each year we will update this page with the latest winners.) 

Fairfax Academy's 2019-20 Academy Award winners:


NOTE: Awards are listed in alphabetical order by program, and the singular 'Academy Excellence Award' and  the two 'Academy Ambassador Awards' are listed after the programs.

(The awards/students are not listed in any particular order under each program.)



  • Rising Star Award
    • John ‘Colm’ Cochran
      • Colm, a rising sophomore, is a heritage learner who is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn Arabic. He demonstrated a real knack for learning the language throughout the year, and was a pleasure to have in class. 
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • Haroon Amanullah
      • During the FHS open-house at the beginning of the year, I met Haroon’s father, who mentioned that his family was of Pakistani origin and Haroon had a little bit of experience studying Quranic Arabic, because of their Muslim heritage. He mentioned that Haroon was now looking to gain a level of proficiency in the language and they thought the course would be a good fit.  Throughout the year, Haroon has never hesitated to make the best use of the classroom time to learn the language. Always asking questions about grammar, participating actively in speaking activities, and succeeding on assessments, Haroon is well on his way to achieving a high-level of proficiency in the language. 
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • Toqa Hassanein
      • Toqa, a junior, is originally from Egypt.  She came into the class with a solid knowledge of Arabic. She has very strong writing skills, which really shined through in many of her assignments.  She was always a great help to some of her fellow students who found learning the language difficult.  Furthermore, she was a great help to the Arabic program.  When the Lanier Middle School students visited, she enthusiastically shared her experiences in our Arabic program and encouraged them to enroll. She has also laid the groundwork for establishing an Arabic Honor Society at Fairfax High School, although unfortunately this has been delayed due to the pandemic crisis. Actually, Arabic is not the only academy language that Toqa studies—she studies Korean, which she plans on majoring in at the post-secondary level.  I know she will be an asset to her Korean language program. 
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • Fiona Hood
      • Fiona, a rising junior, was a pleasure to have in class and always completed assignments and enthusiastically participated in class activities. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to write her a letter of recommendation earlier in the year for an academic opportunity that she was pursuing and I learned that not only is she a very strong student, but she excels in a number of extracurricular activities.  – she is a pianist and competes in competitive sports.  Her ability to balance multiple commitments and extra-curricular activities translates to great executive skills in class. Being a high school teacher, you often find that you need to explain things multiple times, but Fiona is always on-task and is clarifying instructions for other students.



  • Outstanding Contribution Award
    • Jin Wen Xie
      • Jin Wen has dedicated her talents and time to serving in a leadership role to help organize activities to promote and celebrate Chinese culture. She is very reliable and consistent in her participation. Jin Wen not only plays the main role, a backup role, a supporting role in most activities she is involved in, but she is always the last person to leave to make sure everything is good. We greatly appreciate her hard work! Congratulations Jinwen!
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • MacKenzie Burgoyne
      • MacKenzie consistently demonstrates her strong motivation in learning Chinese. She fully engages and immerses herself in all class activities, discussions, and is always the first student to turn in assignments. Her diligent efforts are an inspiration to all in the class. Congratulations MacKenzie!
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • Leah Hamaker
      • Leah’s persistent pursuit of excellence has brought her competence in all four areas of communicative abilities---speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Chinese. She constantly challenges herself in both speaking and in writing and excels in both. When tutoring her peers in class, she tries different methods to explain the grammar points to make sure the concepts were understood. She is an excellent tutor! Congratulations Leah!



  • Heart & Soul Award
    • Zoe Varacalli
      • Zoe has been an Academy student for the past two years in the Dance and Professional Photography programs and was in the Academy’s musical, A Chorus Line. She is always willing to help her classmates and teachers. After high school Zoe plans to attend a Semester at Sea and take college courses from the boat while exploring Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  • Rising Star Award
    • Angelique Melendez-Vargas
      • Angelique has been at the Academy for three years and will be a senior next year.  She has continued to grow and stretch herself as an artist and her positive energy makes the classroom a place that breeds creativity. Angelique is quite a beautiful dancer, and we look forward to what the future holds for her. 
  • Rising Star Award
    • Amanda Cook
      • This is Amanda's first year with the Academy. She has proven that she truly loves dance and wants to be better in all aspects. She tackles new and difficult techniques and is driven to become a great artist. Amanda choreographed a wonderful hip hop routine for the 8th period Hip Hop class and has a bright future.
  • Outstanding Artist Award
    • Alysea Colon
      • Alysea is the epitome of success through the Fairfax Academy Dance Program. She has been in the program her entire high school career with little to no outside training. She has rapidly learned what it means to be a dancing artist. This is due to her hard work, commitment, and love of dance. She attended Governor’s School last summer and will be attending  The Peabody Conservatory at John Hopkins in the fall to study Dance.



  • Excellence Award
    • Hartej (‘Harry’) Singh
      • Harry is a true fashion designer at work! He is artistically talented, self-motivated, and diligent with a positive attitude. He understands how to work hard, be organized, and how to spend his time wisely. I have seen this first hand this year as he skillfully juggled an intense Fashion Careers class (creating his debut collection of six looks), creation of his fine arts/design college portfolio in four short months, and maintaining good grades in all of his honors/AP classes. There were mishaps here and there as his schedule was very hectic, to say the least, but when he struggled with his workload, it was his positive attitude and laughter that carried him through the rough patches to get him back on track.  Harry definitely earned this award!  Congratulations Harry, we are very proud of you and everything you have accomplished ‘with excellence’ this year!
  • Attitude with Altitude Award
    • Alenoush Davis
      • Alenoush is always so enthusiastic about learning and is a cheerleader who celebrates her successes and the success of her classmates wholeheartedly! Even when going through rough patches, she maintains a positive attitude that allows her to continue producing quality work.  A lot of the time, she goes above and beyond what is expected of her.  For our virtual learning, she set out to construct a historically accurate dress from the 1600’s which consists of intricate construction detailing and couture techniques like boning, quilted petticoats and even adding an undergarment pocketing which was worn during that time period.  She continues to amaze me with her “Can Do” attitude!  I know she will accomplish everything she sets her mind to!  I am very proud of you and I know that success is yours for the taking wherever you go!
  • Designer of the Year Award
    • Lars Rosen
      • Lars is an eager and passionate student who works hard and is naturally gifted in the area of concept development and design.  He goes above and beyond what is asked of him in class, which can be seen in his debut collection where he conceptually and visually “plays” around with the concept of physical and emotional “baggage” and creates a beautiful five look collection composed of multiple pieces.  I am so proud of Lars and everything he has accomplished in his two years at Fairfax Academy and we all are excited to see the impact he will have in the Fashion Industry. 
  • The World Changer Award
    • Olivia Appleberry
      • Olivia is a trustworthy person you can count on with a gentle soul.  She has an appreciation for people and a natural desire to help and offer up her services to others.  Naturally, Olivia is an Academy Ambassador who has volunteered through-out the year, wherever help was needed.  Our Fashion Careers virtual learning curriculum consisted of picking from a “Skills Menu” (4 projects that would allow the students to grow in a skill-set, one of the projects being making masks).  Even before this project was given to the Fashion Careers 1 class, she had already set out to mass produce masks to donate to the community!  Olivia is a kind hearted person with the work ethic to carry out her plans to help people and change the world around her for the better. We are all very proud of you Olivia! You are a World Changer, and you should never forget that because we will never forget that about you! 



  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • Uyen Van
      • Miss Uyen Van is a Madison HS student who successfully completed Korean level 1 in 10th grade and is currently taking Korean 2.  Uyen has developed great skills in Korean language over the past two years and is planning to continue to study Korean 3&4 at the Fairfax Academy next year. 
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
    • Isabelle LeClerc
      • Miss LeClerc is in the 11th grade at Westfield HS and is currently taking Korean Level 2. Over the past two years, Isabelle has consistently demonstrated excellence in her linguistic abilities.  Isabelle learns language concepts quickly and helps any student needing help in class.  Next year as a senior, Isabelle is returning to the Academy to take Korean 3 & 4. 
  • Leadership Award
    • Kylie Kim
      • Miss Kim joined Fairfax Academy last year as a 9th grader and is currently taking Korean 3&4. Early on, Kylie demonstrated the ability to bring a group of people together to work toward a common goal. Kylie manages a google classroom announcement for her classmates to help keep them up to date with homework, projects and any other important due dates. She has also created a Quizlet site where her classmates can prepare for quizzes and tests. Thanks to her leadership, her classmates developed close friendships and helped each other to succeed in class. In addition to her academic excellence, Kylie also has learned Korean traditional drumming through the Korean Honor Society (KHS) and has performed for school and community events. Next year, Kylie is planning to continue to participate in and lead the KHS drum groups.
  • Leadership Award
    • Annabelle Pham
      • Miss Annabelle Pham is an Oakton HS student who has been attending Fairfax Academy Korean classes since 10th grade. Annabelle has demonstrated great compassion for others and has proven her maturity by working closely with struggling students during class.  She is very happy to assist any student needing help and takes extra time to explain language concepts, grammar, and syntax.  The students respond positively to Annabelle, and as a result of her assistance are better able to maintain their focus on language learning.  Although she cannot return to the Fairfax Academy next year, Annabelle would like to continue to study the Korean language in college.



  • Most Prolific Composer Award
    • Clark Tao 
      • A multi-talented composer, pianist and trumpet player, Clark has created numerous high-quality compositions over the last two years at the Academy. This year, Clark composed an electronic triptych for his portfolio, a work in three movements depicting the rise of a young musical artist to international fame. Portions of the work were used in the Academy’s Virtual Events trailer this year.  Next year, Clark will be studying Recording Arts Technology at Full Sail University.  We are also pleased to announce that Clark is a recipient of Full Sail’s “Creative Minds” Scholarship, a $25,000 award granted to exemplary students in the field of digital and media arts. 
  • Artistic Development Award 
    • Darius Holweg
      • Over the past two years, Darius has been an inspiration to his peers through his highly creative approach to his work in MCT.  His artistic development and musical output have been both prolific and high in quality. This year, Darius was instrumental in the design and construction of a new sound proof recording booth in the MCT Lab. We are happy to announce that Darius will be attending Liberty University in the fall majoring in Music Production and Recording Arts.
  • Leadership Award
    • Angie Wiederock
      •  As an MCT Manger, Angie was an asset to the team, as she assumed the mantle of numerous roles while also serving as a performer herself. ngie provided vision and continuity of operations for the entire MCTFest family.  Her remarkable organizational skills, personable leadership style, and willingness to take on the many challenging tasks that were a part of the event made this year’s MCTFest one for the books!  We are proud to mention that Angie will be double majoring in Music Industry and International Relations at James Madison University.
  • Leadership Award
    • Nathan Brown
      • As a manager for MCTFest 2020, Nate was responsible for the technical management of the album, including the editing, mixing and mastering of all performance tracks. Nate’s enthusiasm and energy were a major component of the success of the event.  We are very happy to share that Nate will be attending Columbia College in the fall! 



  • Rising Star Award
    • Evelyn Izdepski
      • Ms. Izdepski is a rising junior from Falls Church HS. She is a marvelous young performer with incredible skills. In fact she understudied at least three and perhaps four characters in our latest production of A Chorus Line.  She was a featured dancer in every dance number. Evie also stepped in when necessary to work with other students on their dance skills and often lead dance classes for the entire class. She does all this without being asked and expects nothing in return. Evelyn is an outstanding student and a wonderful choice for our Rising Star.
  • Outstanding Entrepreneur Award
    • Riley Rhoder
      • Ms. Rhoder has not decided yet what colleges she will attend for theatre, but Shenandoah, CCM and Michigan are high on the list. Riley is one of the few students to come to the Academy as a freshman starting with Ms. Cook and Ms. Barnes in Dance, and Mr. Replogle in Musical Theatre Actors Studio. She has been the Class Secretary/librarian for two years and has attempted to keep Mr. Replogle organized the entire time, to no avail. She is kind, honest and professional, and we know she will do well. We wish her all the best.
  • Most Improved Award
    • Angelina Cate
      • Ms. Cate has constantly stepped up in every area of performance. To better perform the part of Morales in A Chorus Line, she worked extensively on dancing on her own and with Ms. Cook, our choreographer. Her vocals, already strong…had to become even more so and she is always in the top percent of her class acting wise. Ms. Cate has decided to take a gap year to work and improve her performance skills. She looks forward to directing and teaching after a professional career. Texas State, Shenandoah, and Baldwin Wallace are of interest.
  • Triple Threat Award
    • Diana Halick
      • Ms. Halick truly is a triple threat. Singing was her first passion. She is a legitimately trained vocalist and opt to sing opera as musical theatre.  She has competed often in vocal competitions across the region. Dancing of all types, especially tap is a real passion. Diana is constantly finding new ways to improve herself. Lately, her acting has gotten her such notice that she has been invited to attend Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts this fall. Congratulations Ms. Halick.



  • Level-1 Portfolio Award
    • Jordyn Salow
      • Jordyn is a very ambitious and hard working student in the level 1 Professional Photography class.  Since joining the class, Jordyn has collaborated with many classes on different projects.  She was stage manager, as well as, a photographer for A Chorus Line, a show put on by the Musical Theatre & Actor’s Studio program.  She also photographed the dance benefit concert.  These are just two of the many collaborative projects that Jordyn worked on.  She plans to go UMd to study Psychology and Women Studies.  Jordyn plans to continue her photographic career as well.  She already has jobs booked for her own company.
  • Outstanding Light Writer Award --- NEED CONFIRMATION FROM KEVIN, as he listed two kids, and need him to decide if he is keeping DJ or changing to Peter Makin
    • DJ Bartly
      • DJ Bartly is a high spirited, multi-talented student in the level 2 Professional Photography class.  DJ is also one of our acting students at Fairfax Academy.  Because of his knowledge of acting, DJ knows what it takes to produce an amazing headshot and has created great images for many of his acting classmates and others.  DJ has collaborated with the majority of our Academy classes.  He has also worked with the Fashion class on several projects as well as studio shots for the MCT class.  DJ will be attending Texas State where he plans to study Theater and Business.  He will also continue his photographic journey working with new clients he meets when he moves back to Texas.
  • Rising Star Award
    • Peter Makin
      • Peter Makin is a polite, creative and very athletic level 2 student in my Professional Photography class.  Peter is a very talented swimmer who will be swimming for Auburn in the fall.  He puts this same level of dedication into all he does.  His pictures show the time and effort that he has dedicated to his photographic skills.  Peter produces amazing nature and landscape images that have a dream-like feeling.  Peter is interested in studying to become a commercial Pilot at Auburn.
  • Signature Project Award
    • Samy Derbali
      • Samy Derbali is a very talented and creative level 2 student in the Professional Photography class.  Samy is always willing to help out a classmate with anything they may need assistance on.  He has also been our class videographer on all of our awesome field trips. His videos can be found on YouTube.  Samy is already doing jobs in the photographic and  videography world.  Samy plans on attending George Mason to study Finance and continue pursuing a career in Photography and Videography. 



  • Brand Ambassador Award
    • Maria Christou
      • Maria is a graduating senior at Madison High School. Maria’s positive attitude and commitment to Social Media and the Academy has been commendable. She served as a representative at multiple Academy functions, and will be continuing her studies in Marketing next year with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing. Congratulations Maria!
  • Class Collaborator Award
    • Natalie Davison
      • Natalie is a graduating senior also at Madison High School. Natalie’s remarkable attitude and willingness to lead and learn with everyone in class was what made her stand out. She volunteered her time with Academy recruitment efforts at local middle schools throughout the county and would always come to class with a smile. She will no doubt continue to find success in any endeavor she undertakes. Congratulations Natalie!



  • Executive Producer Award
    • Katya Shakula
      • Katya has been in the program for two years and is easily one of the most impressive young filmmakers in this area.  She is xtremely talented in all areas of production and tackles whatever role she's in with enthusiasm and dedication.  She has led her own production outside of class utilizing professional cast and crew in the Northern VA area and has another large project currently in the works.  
  • Up & Coming Award
    • Sujay Khona
      • Sujay is a very talented first year filmmaker whose work this year has already won a national film competition.  He's resourceful and inquisitive - seeking out knowledge and information both in class and outside of class.  Additionally, Sujay displays talent as an actor, making him formidable in front and behind the camera.  Sujay will return to the class next year as a Level 2 student.  
  • Up & Coming Award
    • Sophia Skiavo 
      • Sophia is a multi-talented student who really should have taken the class before she was a senior.  She displays an immense proclivity and aptitude towards production, both on the pre-production side and post-production side, making her an excellent leader in all phases of a project.  Her animation work has already been on national television, as part of a fan made opening sequence for the Fox network animated comedy Bob's Burgers.  



This award is given to a student who regularly and consistently shows extraordinary enthusiasm for the Academy, and acts on that enthusiasm by volunteering inside AND outside of class to assist wherever and whenever needed - and in doing so, this student makes a real impact on the life of the Academy.

The recipient is selected by the Academy faculty and staff, and has proven that he is not only dependable and eager - BUT is also truly passionate about the Academy as a whole. 

This student has been involved in numerous classes beyond just the ones he had in his schedule. He took the initiative to be involved in the Academy in its entirety, and fostered relationships with faculty and students alike.  


  • Braden Aust 

For the past two years, Braden Aust has enthusiastically served the Academy in numerous ways. A cool level-headed worker no matter how demanding the task, Braden has taken on some huge roles in his time at the Academy. As a member of the MCT program, he employed his stage management and technical skills to produce both MCTFest 2019 and MCTFest 2020 Online: Social Dissonance.

As Stage Manager and Lighting Designer for A Chorus Line, he leveraged the powers of Google Classroom and Calendar to help monitor attendance, organize cast and crew schedules, and communicate with over sixty cast members.. He helped the Producer and Director acquire all items that needed to be purchased for the show, including last minute needs. Braden mentored an assistant lighting designer from another school, constructed extensions to the stage, helped troubleshoot and problem-solve countless obstacles along the way, and in the end, helped stage a milestone production for the Academy.

Additionally, Braden has been an outstanding ambassador for the Academy, both by serving at Academy events and by promoting Academy programs at other schools. His positive, upbeat approach, wonderful sense of humor and willingness to serve makes him a joy to work with in every way.

Congratulations Braden!! We wish you all the best!



Every year, we have been fortunate to have a large group of responsible student volunteers, our Ambassadors, who offer to represent and assist Fairfax Academy at a variety of functions. 

We want to take a moment to say thank you to ALL of our Ambassadors for the exorbitant amount of time and quality efforts these students put forth throughout this entire school year! 

This year we have two exceptional Ambassadors we would like to recognize individually for their continuous dedication, and service to the Academy.  Our Rising Star is given to an outstanding underclassman, while our Shooting Star’s recipient is a remarkable graduating senior. Both of these young ladies are mature, hard-working Ambassadors who are both very deserving of this significant recognition. 

  • Rising Star Award 
    •  Phuong-Anh Pham (Sophomore, Chinese 2 – Woodson) 
      • This is Phuong-Anh’s second year as an Ambassador. Phuong-Anh is always willing to help out and has actually volunteered for more events than any other Ambassador this year. She continues to be a strong supporter and promoter of the Academy and we look forward to her continuing on as an Ambassador her last two years at the Academy.
  • Shooting Star Award 
    • Alysea Colon (Senior, Dance 4 – FHS) 
      • This is Alysea’s 3rd year as an Ambassador. Alysea has far exceeded our expectations and is viewed as a leader and spokesperson for our Academy and her dance class. She is always at the top of the list for student panels, elective and curriculum fairs, special events and tours such as middle school tours, the Academy Experience, Open Houses and Back to School Nights, to name a few. Alysea’s positive and supportive attitude and eagerness to always help has made her one of our most valuable assets.