Seniors Maskoff, Alcyone, win 27th annual High School Arts Awards


Photo contributed by Lisa Marriott

Sophie Alcyone ’22 (left) and Sasha Maskoff ’22 (right) attended the CAS Awards ceremony on April 5 in Plantsville, Connecticut. The CAS awards their Outstanding Arts Award based on demonstrated scholarship and leadership across the realm of visual and performing arts. Two students from each member school are awarded annually, and students must be referred by teachers.

The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) recognized Sasha Maskoff ’22 and Sophie Alycone ’22 for their artistic excellence at the 27th Annual High School Arts Awards on April 5.

The CAS awards two seniors each year for excellence across the visual/performing arts.

Sophie Alcyone: excellence in visual media

Alcyone won the award for a pastel drawing she created in her Advanced Placement Drawing class with a concentration on nighttime.

“I used a photo of my sister for a reference, then distorted her features for a surreal and unpleasant effect,” Alcyone said. “I [used] many colors of chalk pastel on dark blue paper. I wanted to capture the feeling when you’re outside in the dark and you feel watched and on edge.”

When she was young, Alcyone took classes with local artist Katherine Ross, who teaches lessons to many students around Westport. In those classes, Alcyone experimented with a variety of different media, which eventually introduced her to her love for illustration.

“For me, art is a way to spend time on making something beautiful and really meditate on that. It’s peaceful and gives me time to not think about my worries or whatever else is going on in life,” Alcyone said.

Art teacher Camille Eskell remarked on Sophie’s creative mindset and artistic development throughout high school.

“I find Sophie to be very intelligent and abstract-minded. She sees things in a very different and varied way,” Eskell said. “Over the years not only has her ability grown steadily—because she’s got tremendous initiative, focus, concentration and she cares—but as [she’s gotten] older the skills coalesce even more so she can start inventing, which is what [she’s done] here.”

I think that when you really love something, you’ll find the time to pursue it and to do it.

— Sasha Maskoff ’22

Sasha Maskoff: excellence in musical skill

Maskoff, recognized for her musical ability, has played the piano since she was five years old. She considers herself a classical pianist, although she also enjoys exploring other genres, even manning the keyboard for this year’s Staples Players’ production of Descendants.

“I was really honored to receive the award, I honestly didn’t expect any nominations and I didn’t even know the award existed before then, so I was just really surprised,” Maskoff said.

Maskoff participates in competitions annually, where she often has to perform solo. However, she is especially passionate about collaborating with others. 

“I love chamber music and I love playing with other people, that’s why I love singing in the choir and also playing in small groups,” Maskoff said. “I love the sense of community it brings and I love the feeling of the sound filling the room and all of us singing or playing together, so its definitely something that I use to de-stress but also as an outlet of self-expression.”

Music teacher Luke Rosenberg has consistently observed Maskoff’s dedication to music. 

“She’s a leader, and that is where I’ve seen the most growth in her,” Rosenberg said. “Having her perform at Candlelight was […] musically speaking,  one of the top three experiences of my life. I really really enjoyed conducting that and working with the orchestra and Sasha, and that level of ability of a pianist—there’s a chance I’ll never have one like that for the rest of my career.”

Maskoff mentioned that it has been challenging to overcome the sense of pressure associated with performing, especially competitively. However, she recognizes that her true purpose in music lies within herself. 

“Performing has never really been the reason why I do music, it’s really mostly been for myself […] and to learn the music and to play it with other people,” Maskoff said.

Balancing practice with her academic responsibilities has proved tough, but she continues to take time out of her day to devote to music.

“I think that when you really love something, you’ll find the time to pursue it and to do it,” Maskoff said.