NWSA graduate’s Moonlight earns Academy Award honors

NWSA graduate's Moonlight earns Academy Award honors

Tarell Alvin McCraney is pictured at New World School of the Arts during a rehearsal of his plays for the school’s 30th anniversary celebration in January.
(Photo by Maria Flores)

Hailed as one of the most influential playwrights of our time, Tarell Alvin McCraney, a 1999 graduate of the New World School of the Arts High School Theater program, was radiant as he took to the stage on Feb. 26 to receive the Oscar for “Best Adapted Screenplay” for Moonlight.

Under the direction of fellow Miamian Barry Jenkins, the independent film, which received a total of eight Oscar nominations, also won the most coveted “Best Picture” Academy Award while Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, took the stage to receive the award for “Best Supporting Actor, for his role as Juan in Moonlight.”

The thrill and energy was palpable the morning after at New World School of the Arts as faculty and students busily discussed the exciting awards ceremony and seeing the familiar face of Tarell McCraney now appearing on television screens across the globe.

“When New World School of the Arts opened 30 years ago it provided a home in our community for creative and talented students to learn, grow and develop in a safe but demanding environment,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson, provost of New World School of the Arts.

“Over these few years we’ve seen our alumni have incredible success, but nothing matches the pride and joy we feel today for Tarell Alvin McCraney for his well-deserved Academy Award. Just a few weeks ago Tarell was here at NWSA working with current students, alumni and friends to present performances of his own work.

“This is typical of the Tarell we know and treasure, generously working to support and uplift others through his art. His close personal connection to not just NWSA but the entire South Florida community is something we cherish even more now that the whole world is learning what an incredible artist he is,” Dr. Hodgson added.

“WOW, what a night!” exclaimed Patrice Bailey, dean of Theater at New World School of the Arts. “Tarell is so deserving of receiving the Oscar for Best Film/Screen Play.

“He is a beautiful writer who has had the courage to share his own story with the world. The faculty and I cannot be any prouder of him and the artistic contributions he has made to the film and theatre industry,” Bailey said.

“Tarell has always distinguished himself, beginning in his years at New World School of the Arts,” said acting professor David Kwiat, who taught McCraney when he was just exploring his passion for the stage as a high school student. “He received the Dean’s Award his senior year and this led to many, many other awards and accomplishments in his career. We are so proud of him, his talent, his character and fortitude. Tarell truly embodies what is best about the NWSA experience!”

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