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Awards & Accolades

Charter Arts students, faculty, staff, and alumni achieve countless awards and accolades each year. This spotlight page serves only as a representative list of these achievements.

March 2024: The Charter Arts Theatre Department is proud to share that students earned the First Place School Award at the 2024 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) High School Shakespeare Competition at Desales University. Second and third place awards were also earned in the scene category, in addition to DeSales University scholarship awards. Bravo and congratulations to these students!

To learn more about this competition and this year’s winners, visit

February, 2024:  The Charter Arts Visual Arts Department is excited to announce that the 2024 East Central PA Scholastic Art Awards were announced recently and Charter Arts students earned more than 60 awards this year! Congratulations to all of the winners! The Scholastic Art Awards will soon publish its full regional list of winners to its website.

Any artwork receiving an Honorable Mention, Silver Key, or Gold Key is eligible for the exhibition at the Miller Gallery at Kutztown University which will be on display February 10- March 3, 2024. The award ceremony will also be held at Kutztown University on Sunday, February 25, 2024 from 2-3 PM.

February, 2024:  Several students of the Charter Arts Music Department have participated in the District 10 PMEA Band & Orchestra Festivals, with two advancing to the Region V District Festivals.  Congratulations to these students!


Niche released its 2024 Best Schools in America rankings earlier this week and once again, Charter Arts shines!

  • State-based rankings include:
  • #1 in Best High School for the Arts in Pennsylvania
  • #1 Best Charter High School in Pennsylvania
  • #2 Best Public High School Teachers in Pennsylvania
Nationally, Charter Arts ranked:
  • #39 (out of 19,423) for best high school teachers in America
  • #60 (out of 1,138) for best high school for the arts in America
  • #128 (out of 2,556) for best charter high school in America
  • #973 (out of 20,446) for best public high schools in America

  • Charter Arts ranks in Top 100 Public High Schools on U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-2024 Best High Schools, ran

Charter Arts’ Executive Director & CEO, Dr. Christina Lincoln shares: “The U.S. News & World Report ranking places the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts) in the company of several high-achieving high schools in the Lehigh Valley. We extend our congratulations to all of these schools. For Charter Arts, this accolade is a testament to the outstanding education we provide. Our unique arts-based approach grounds instruction in meaningful and collaborative learning and supports students in developing skills in critical thinking, creativity, imagination, and innovation. We champion our exceptional faculty’s ability to hold high academic and artistic expectations for every student. Finally, we applaud our students; their dedication and discipline to achieving academic and artistic excellence are core to our mission and values.”


When the CollegeBoard released its Advanced Placement (AP) scores in July 2023, it was exciting news! 80% of Charter Arts AP test takers earned a score of 3 or higher on their exams this year, which earn them credits that are recognized by many colleges and universities.
This accolade is a testament to the exceptional instruction by AP faculty as well as the talent and dedication of these students. It also highlights the artistic and academic rigor that is a pillar of the Charter Arts curriculum.
AP courses at Charter Arts include:
AP English Language & Composition
AP English Literature & Composition
AP United States History
AP Government & Politics
AP Calculus AB     AP Calculus BC
AP Biology
AP Spanish Language
AP Art History
AP 2D Studio Portfolio
AP 3D Studio Portfolio
AP Drawing
AP Music Theory

Congratulations to the Charter Arts Music Department for an outstanding run of awards at Music in the Parks, held in Hershey, PA in April 2023! The  department won 10 trophies and two individual awards. Every ensemble won first place in their division, and the department also won best overall choir (treble choir), jazz ensemble, and concert band! In addition, Bristan Colon won best instrumental soloist and Sam Ulianna won best vocal soloist! Congratulations and Bravo!!

Niche released its 2023 Best Schools in America rankings and Charter Arts earned #1 Best Public High School Teachers in PA (Out of 674) and #1 Best Charter High School in PA.   This is the third year in a row that Charter Arts earned these rankings.


The College Board announced that three Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts) students were selected as part of the 62,000 students from across the country to be Awarded with Academic Honors from College Board National Recognition Programs.  Morgan Del Moral, (NAARA Award); Bianca Felix (NAARA Award & NHRA Award): and Isaac Felix, (NAARA Award & NHRA Award), excelled in College Board assessments and school work to earn these awards.

Congratulations to the Charter Arts Music Department for an outstanding run of awards at Music in the Parks, held in Hershey, PA on April 30, 2022!

9/10 choir – Excellent Rating
Treble Choir – Superior Rating and Top Overall Treble Choir
Touring Choir – Superior Rating and A division champion
Percussion Ensemble – Superior Rating and Top Overall Percussion Ens.
Wind Ensemble – Superior Rating and A division champion
Orchestra – Superior Rating and A division champion
Jazz Ensemble – Superior Rating and Top Overall Jazz Ensemble
Guitar Ensemble – Superior Rating and Top Overall Guitar Ensemble

In addition, the following students won individual accolades:
Isaac Felix – Top Overall Jazz Soloist
Sean Riedy – Top Overall Student Accompanist

Congratulations to Sienna Gallus for earning 1st Place in the Press Papers’ Student Poetry Contest in the high school category. Bravo! Winners of the contest were featured on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Arts Salon. This annual contest takes place during National Poetry Month.


Niche has released its 2022 Best Schools Rankings and Charter Arts has once again earned #1 Best Public High School Teachers in PA (out of 675) and #1 Best Charter School in PA. 

Charter Arts is one of five high schools in the Lehigh Valley to make the Top 100 PA schools on U.S. News & World Report’s recently released 2021 Rankings:

2021 PMEA News: Sean Carroll has been named to the PMEA All-State Wind Ensemble on percussion. Evie Braden (clarinet) and Nick Suarez (clarinet) were selected to participate in this year’s virtual All-State Band Festival.

Honor Roll: Charter Arts students continue to excel in their artistic and core academic classes to earn Honor Roll & High Honor Roll

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards:  Charter Arts Students earned 11 Writing Awards in the 2021 East Central PA Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards:  Charter Arts students earned 16 Art Awards in the 2021 East Central PA Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.


Charter Arts alumnus, James Cusati- Moyer (Class of ’07) was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.  (

In December 2020, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 10 announced the selections for its honors ensembles for 2020-2021 school year, and Charter Arts students, once again, shined!  2 students were announced for District Choir, 5 Students were announced for District Orchestra, and 8 students were announced for District Band.  Due to Covid-19, PMEA will not hold the festivals this year, but the organization still recognized its selections for the various ensembles.

Niche’s 2021 Best Schools in America Rankings were released in October 2020 and Charter Arts ranks #1 Best Public High School Teachers in PA (Out of 666) and #1 Best Charter High School in PA.

Although the program was placed on hold, two Charter Arts students were selected for the 2020 SteelStacks All-Star Band! Spencer Guido and Skyler Stabin

The 150 members of the Charter Arts Class of 2020 collectively earned $4.4 million in scholarship and grant aid for post-secondary education.

Charter Arts is one the Lehigh Valley’s top-ranking schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Schools,.

Two literary arts majors have won first and second place in the Press Papers’ 2020 Student Poetry Contest.

The Charter Arts Theatre Department- 7 students participated in the 2020 Shakespeare Festival and won First Place Ensemble as well as seven individual awards.

The Charter Arts Big Band earned an ‘excellent’ rating at the 2020 SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase!

The Charter Arts Jazz Ensemble won Best Music Group Associated with a School at the 2020 Lehigh Valley Music Awards.

Two Charter Arts students were recipients of the 2020 Lehigh Valley Music Awards Youth Education Scholarship.

Charter Arts has been named a Title I Distinguished School for the fourth year in a row.  This places Charter Arts in the top 5% of all Title I high schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Lehighvalleylive article).






East Central PA Scholastic Art & Writing Awards News:  30 Charter Arts students have earned art and writing awards (21 art awards and 9 writing awards) !! Bravo! One student also earned a National Award.


2019 PMEA Festival: Six students have made PMEA District 10 Band this year, and nine students have made PMEA District 10 Orchestra.

Congratulations to the Charter Arts Touring Choir for placing first in the high school large ensemble division at Clash of the Carols in December. The choir went on to compete in the finals on 12/21.

The 2020 Lehigh Valley Music Awards nominations have been announced and the list includes plenty of Charter Arts students, alumni, and faculty.  Mr. Wells and Mr. Macbeth have noms for Best Music Educator of the Year.  READ MORE & VOTE!

On Niche’s 2020 Rankings– Charter Arts ranks #4 Best Public High School Teachers in PA and #1 Best Charter High School in PA.

Charter Arts earned the second-highest ranking of all public and charter high schools in the Lehigh Valley on U.S. News and World Report’s 2019 Best High Schools in America list!

Charter Arts’ music faculty and students participated in the 2019 Music in the Parks n Hershey, PA.  This national music event attracts ensembles from all over the United States and Canada.  Charter Arts’ various ensembles shined as they earned many awards!

Touring Choir –  Mixed Choir 1st place in Division

Treble Choir – Treble Choir 1st place in Division
Orchestra – Full Orchestra 1st place in Division
Wind Ensemble – Concert Band 1st place in Division
Wind Ensemble – Best Overall Band
Orchestra – Best Overall Orchestra

Touring Choir – Best Overall Choral Ensemble

Congratulations to the Charter Arts theatre students who participated in the 2019 PA Shakespeare Festival’s Monologue and Scene competition this past weekend.  Charter Arts won 1st place team overall!  A variety of individual awards and scholarships were also won.

Jordyn Kenzie and the Charter Arts Jazz Ensemble won 2019 Lehigh Valley Music Awards.

More than 30 Charter Arts students earned 2019 East Central PA Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.In addition, three exclusive regional awards- the Allentown Art Museum Photography Award, the Affiliate Director Award, and the Kutztown University Award were also won by Charter Arts students.


Charter Arts has been named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.  (Award announced in Fall 2019). This coveted award was given to only 349 schools in the nation this year.

Niche‘s 2019 Best High Schools list has been released and the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts) has placed  #14 on the Best High Schools for the Arts in America rankings and #1 on the Best Charter High Schools in Pennsylvania list.  According to Niche‘s website, “the ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with test scores, college data, and ratings collected from millions of Niche users” (


Charter Arts earned a Silver Award with its impressive ranking on U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best High Schools Rankings.  

The Charter Arts Big Band earned an EXCELLENT rating at the 2018 Steelstacks High School Jazz Band Showcase.  Two students also won individual awards.

The 2018 East Central PA Scholastic Art & Writing Award Winners have been announced. Charter Arts students have earned over 60 awards, including Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention! Bravo!  Four students earned National Awards this year.

The Charter Arts Big Band received a 2018 Lehigh Valley Music Award for “Best Local Student Ensemble.”


Charter Arts ranks #6 for SAT scores in the Lehigh Valley

The Express-Times/ Lehigh Valley Live just posted the ranking of Lehigh Valley high schools’ SAT scores, based on information released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Shakespeare Competition

At the Pennsylvania High School Shakespeare Competition this year, Charter Arts won First Place in the Team Category, plus several individual awards.  Several students also earned scholarships.

Regional & National Art & Writing Awards

Over 50 students earned awards with the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards this year.  Two students earned NATIONAL awards, and join notable Scholastic Award alums such as Andy Warhol and Lena Dunham.

Student selected for PMEA State Choral Festival

Evan Nelson has been selected for the PMEA All-State Choral Festival. He will be one of 200 students from around the state participating.  Forty-eight students from the PMEA Region V Choral Festival, which was hosted at Charter Arts in February, were selected to move onto the state festival.

Charter Arts Jazz Band receives accolades at SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase

The band earned the following:  Best Reed Section, Best Trombone Section, Best Vocal soloist – Jacqui Armbruster, Best Rhythm Section soloist – Tyler Smith, Best Overall soloist – Donavan Austin, Band-Excellent rating

Students selected for 2017 PMEA District Band and Orchestra Festival

Eight students were selected for the PMEA 2017 (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) District Band and District Orchestra . Two of these students received first chair in their respective instruments.

Student selected for 2017 All-Eastern Band

A senior instrumental student has been selected to perform as the pianist for the NafME (National Association for Music Education) All-Eastern Symphonic Band which is comprised of the finest high school musicians from the east coast region of the country.


Charter Arts Students participate in the Imagine Peace Sign Project as part of the John Lennon Educational Bus Tour

John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon, USA

John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon, USA

Charter Arts Rocks the Keystone Exams!
Read the Morning Call’s report card on exam scores of schools in the region.

Charter Arts earns High Achievement Designation for the Second Year in a Row
Charter Arts has earned the distinction as a Title I-High Achievement school. The Pennsylvania Association of Federal Programs defines Reward High Achievement schools as the highest 5% Title I schools based on aggregate  Mathematics  and Reading for PSSA and/or Algebra I/Literature for Keystone Exams, which also meet all four Annual Measurable Objectives.

The Class of 2016 earned close to $2.7 million in scholarships and grants for college.

Candids #8










The Charter Arts Big Band opened for saxophonist Kamasi Washington at ArtsQuest on May 7th.

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Vocal Majors rocked on the Sands Stage on May 5th with legendary rock band, Foreigner, for the second year in a row.

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Visual Art Students’ Work on Display in Community
<Freshman, Hazel Ferguson and senior, Gwen Stark, both won cash prizes at the Hope and Healing Exhibit and Competition.  Both students donated their work to the competition.  The goal is for donated artwork to go out into community hospitals/healing facilities. The competition offers students a wonderful opportunity to see how their artwork can make a difference.The exhibit is currently on display at the Baum School:

Junior, Bria Pickle currently has watercolors on view at the New Community Gallery at Penn State, Lehigh Valley campus

Students perform at Julliard Jazz Event
The Charter Arts Advanced Jazz Combo was invited to open a show featuring the Julliard Jazz: Artist Diploma Ensemble at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg in late March.  Students performed for an audience of over 500 patrons.  All the students in attendance then enjoyed the Julliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble perform their show, “Jazz in the Movies”.

Charter Arts receives Lehigh Valley Music Award
In early March, Charter Arts Executive Director & CEO, Diane LaBelle, and Artistic Director of Vocal Music, David Macbeth attended the Lehigh Valley Music Awards to accept the prestigious Board of Directors Award. The award was given to Charter Arts, The School of Rock, and The Lesson Center for providing musical opportunities and education for young people.  Students from each organization came together on stage for a special performance honoring David Bowie.

Students shine at Shakespeare Festival Competition
Nine theatre students competed at DeSales University’s Shakespeare Festival Competition in February.  In addition to individual awards won, the Charter Arts team won second place overall!

Dance Festival

Fifteen dancers, five parent chaperones, and dance faculty members, Mrs. Maniscalco and Mrs. Hoffman, spent four days in Pittsburgh  in early February, where they attended the National High School Dance Festival. Students took classes in various dance techniques, attended lectures and participated in various performances.

Students also had the opportunity to audition for many college dance programs and speak with representatives from those colleges.

Charter Arts Big Band earns Superior Rating
On February 21, the Charter Arts Big Band participated in the SteelStacks High School Jazz Showcase at ArtsQuest’s Musikfest Cafe.

This year, the Charter Arts Big Band received a score of “superior” marking the third time the group has received this high of a rating. Previously, the Charter Arts Big Band from the 2013-14 school year received a “superior” rating at each stage of the competition. This is a big accomplishment for the group!

Additionally, individual students won the best rhythm section soloist, best brass section soloist, and best rhythm section

Touring Choir performed in Annual Bach Family Concert
The Charter Arts Touring Choir performed on February 28th as part of the Bach Family Concert at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center.The Touring Choir has also been asked to perform with the legendary rock band, Foreigner, again this spring.  The choir performed with the band last year at the Sands.

PMEA Band Festival
In early February, the PMEA District 10 Band Festival took place at North Schuykill HS. Mr. Wells joined the participating students along with guest conductor, Greg Martin. At the festival, the roster for Regional Band was also announced. Several students will be moving on to Regional Band.

Visual Art Students excel at Scholastic Art Awards

Visual Art students earned over fifty awards collectively at the Regional Scholastic Art Awards.  Students were recognized with awards in several categories such as illustration, drawing, sculpture, digital media, fashion, photography and jewelry. Charter Arts will be hosting the Scholastic Art Awards Exhibit in April.

Literary Arts Students win at Scholastic Writing Awards
Literary Arts students and students enrolled in the Creative Writing course, earned twenty-two awards across a variety of literary genres! Well done!

Charter Arts is named as a GRAMMY Signature School Semifinalist for 2016. 
Finalists will be announced in March.