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Congratulations Class of 2016!

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

Alan Alda


Caroline Bell, cello

Student of Robin Reinarz and Andy Smith.
Student at NSA for 4 years.
Las Vegas Academy

  • Member of Las Vegas Youth Orchestra and NSA Chamber Orchestra.
  • Honors Orchestra and NV Allstate all 4 years
  • Principal cello of LVYO Philharmonic and LVA Philharmonic.

Will be attending University of Arizona in Tucson as a music performance major studying with Theodore Buchholz and was also accepted to the San Francisco Conservatory and University of Arizona.

Daniel Campbell, viola

Daniel Campbell, violist, is a graduating senior from West Career and Technical Academy. He has participated in orchestra through all his years of middle and high school, including WCTA’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Nevada School of the Arts Chamber Orchestra, Las Vegas Youth Orchestras, Clark County Honor Orchestra (four years), Nevada’s All-State Orchestra (four years) and Honor Orchestra of America (three years). Daniel will attend University of San Diego in the fall, and has received the Alcala Scholarship, the Adams/Hughes Music Scholarship, and locally, the Summerlin Lions Club scholarship.

Cathy Choi, violin

Student of Shakeh Ghoukasian
Started at NSA age 9
Started violin age 7
Coronado High School

  • Winner of All-State Command Performance for Upper String Solo (2015)
  • 1st place –Ennio Bolognini Competition, Solo Category (2014 and 2012)
  • 2007-Present—Las Vegas Youth Orchestra; Concertmaster (2015/16), Assistant Concertmaster (2014/15); winner of 2016 concerto competition
  • Concerto competition winner of Las Vegas Youth Philharmonic and the winner of Rotary Club District Scholarship Competition.
  • National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, 2016
  • Valedictorian
  • Founder of Maestoso Musicians Association, a volunteering chamber ensemble
  • President of Red Cross Club, Future Medical Professionals, Mu Alpha Theta; Captain of Science Bowl
  • 3 year varsity diver
  • Nevada Girls State Governor

Future plans:
Attending MIT with a major in chemical engineering and a minor in management

Gabe Doran, cello

Student of Elena Kapustina and Robin Reinarz

Avary Dwyer, violin

Avary Dwyer is a graduating senior form Green Valley High School. She began playing violin at four years old. Her violin teachers include Cathleen Spring from Denver and Sarah Wright. Currently she is under the guidance of Shakeh Ghoukasian at the Nevada School of the Arts. Avary will be attending University of Nevada, Las Vegas starting this fall majoring in Psychology. She is a Millennium Scholarship recipient as well as multiple academic scholarship recipient from UNLV.

Gwen Garrett, viola

Student of Jennifer Hellwell
Gwen started at NSA at age 5 with the violin.
High School: Las Vegas Academy


  • National Park Service Volunteer for 5 years
  • Received the Women’s Leadership Award and scholarship to Cottey College (only five received this honor)
  • Photography was showcased in the gallery at the Life is Beautiful Festival in 2014
  • CCSD Honor Orchestra participant for 6 years

Future Plans:
Attend Cottey College, Major in History, minor in Anthropology and become a Museum Curator

Peter Gumroyan, violin

Student of Mary Straub since age 4 and jazz violin with Patrick Clark
Student at NSA since 2001
Las Vegas Academy of Arts, as a violin major both in orchestra program and jazz program

  • Peter has been a 7 year participant of CCSD Honor Orchestra and 4 years of All State Orchestra
  • Numerous times participant and winner of Silver State and Bolognini Competitions
  • Member of NSA Chamber orchestra for the last 3 years

Future Plans:
Peter will be attending UNLV as a jazz studies major in violin on full scholarship from both classical and jazz programs.

Jillian Johnson, violin

At age thirteen, Jillian Johnson began studying violin privately with Shakeh Ghoukasian at the Nevada School of the Arts (NSA). She has experience in several different ensembles, such as the “Vivace Violins” Repertoire Class, Las Vegas Youth Orchestras, NSA Chamber Orchestra, and the CCSD Honors and All-State Orchestras. Jillian began attendance at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in 2012, and was awarded both “Most Outstanding Freshman” and “Most Outstanding Sophomore” in the Philharmonic Orchestra. She has experience competing in the Silver State, Bolognini, and MTNA competitions. An avid chamber music player, Jillian studied chamber music with the NSA Honors Quartet in 2013 and was awarded third place in the American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented International “Passion of Music 2014” festival. They were invited to perform in the DiMenna Center of Music in New York, and were offered scholarships to the Vianden Music Festival and School in Luxembourg. Jillian has participated in several different summer programs, including the Green Valley Chamber Music Festival, Tuacahn Summer Institute, the Interlochen Arts Camp in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Center Stage Strings. She recently was awarded second place in the American Protege International Concerto Competition, and performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in December 2015. Jillian, age 17, currently attends the Interlochen Arts Academy on scholarship, studying with Ara Sarkissian. Over the summer, the orchestra will be performing new works as part of the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial. This coming fall, Jillian will be a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin as a BM Violin Performance Major studying with Professor Brian Lewis.

Aife Mejza, violin

Aife Mejza is a current senior majoring in music at the Las Vegas Academy. She has been a violin student at the Nevada School of the Arts for over 14 years and studies with Shakeh Ghoukasian. Over the last four years she has participated in CCSD’s Honor Orchestra and NMEA’s All-State, been a Nevada Representative at a political science program, Girls Nation, become president of her school’s Best Buddies program, a program that promotes friendships between those with and without disabilities, and more. Next year, she will be studying business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kevin Meng, violin

Student of Mary Straub

 Clifford Richardson

Clifford Richardson, violin

Clifford Richardson began his violin lessons at the age of seven and is finishing his violin studies under the guidance of Ms. Shakeh Ghoukasian. He has participated in the NSA chamber music program since 5th grade. Clifford has won numerous solo competitions, attended seven consecutive years of the Clark County School District Honor Orchestra, and performed with the Nevada All-State Orchestra as a co-concertmaster in 2016. He was a soloist with the NSA Chamber Orchestra, Coronado High School Chamber Strings and Henderson Symphony Orchestra and visits nursing homes to perform violin in local areas and in Japan.

Clifford is a member of USCF (United States Chess Federation). He has been participating in the Las Vegas International Chess Festival from 2009. He regularly plays chess in the National Open, North American Open and CCSD scholastic individual and team tournaments. Serving as a President of Coronado’s Chess Club, he led the team to be recognized as second best in CCSD in 2015. He volunteers to teach children chess every week at a local chess club and most recently, received an expert rating in chess tactics on lichess.org.

Clifford is a practitioner of Japanese Swordsmanship. He is recognized nationally to have officially achieved the degree of 1 dan, the equivalent rank of a first degree black belt. His passion goes to computer science, of which he will study in University of Nevada, Reno this fall on a full scholarship.

Bella Scroppo, viola

Student of Jennifer Hellewell
Started at NSA in Fall 2011, violin
Centennial High School

  • 2015 Teen Speak Up Representative for the Epilepsy Foundation of Nevada

Future Plans:
Plans on some college, with future plans of working with animals and/or children

Luisa Skouson, violin

Luisa Skouson will graduate from Clark High School in June. This year she was concertmaster of the Clark Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras under the direction of Dr. Charles Cushinery.

Luisa, a former student of Jenny Jackson, has studied with Mary Straub of the Nevada School of the Arts for the past six years. She participated in Honor Orchestra and All-State throughout Middle and High School, and was concertmaster of Honor Orchestra her senior year. Luisa placed first in the Bushell competition this year and has previously placed first in the Silver State competition.

Under the direction of David Skouson, Luisa has played with Zions Youth Symphony and Chorus for six years, performing with them at the Smith Center for the last four years.

Alongside her training in classical music, Luisa had the opportunity to perform in the Super Summer Theatre 2015 opening show, Keepin’ it Country, where she played alongside a bluegrass band.

Luisa will attend University of Nevada Reno as an academic major and a music minor.