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Student Spotlight: It’s an Honor to Introduce Oliviana Marie Halus-Griep

Do you know what makes our hearts sing? Spotlighting LSS stars like Oliviana Marie Halus-Griep. This Laurel Springs Senior is a singer, dancer, actress, ice-skater…(breathe), conductor, composer, lyricist, librettist…(another breath), trumpeter, pianist, cellist, and now a Presidential Scholar nominee. With such a repertoire, it was only a matter of time before Oliviana was recognized for her work. Learn more about this rising star and how she balances her artistic and academic interests. 

On the Rise

Oliviana Marie is not only passionate about the arts, she’s highly involved in all aspects of the discipline. Her resume ranges from acting in stage and screen productions to cabaret singing and multilingual voiceovers. She has also written the book, music, and lyrics for four different musicals, three of which are award-winners!

Winning is something Oliviana is both deserving of and familiar with. “In early January, I was selected as a Finalist in the Singer-Songwriter category of the National YoungArts Foundation.” In addition to pride and recognition, this honor came with creative and professional development opportunities. “I spent a week working with some of the top teachers in my field, presenting new material and gaining new skills.” And the honors continue to rack up. 

Presidential Honors

Most recently, Oliviana was nominated to become a 2021 Presidential Scholar in the Arts, an honor that recognizes “academic and artistic accomplishments, demonstrated leadership, community service and outreach initiatives, and overall creativity.” That’s right, in addition to her extensive work in the arts, Oliviana also fits in philanthropy.

“Inspired by the work of the Small Wonders Foundation, which helps provide life-changing  surgeries to children all around the world born with facial and body differences, I helped found the Small Wonders Junior Advisory Council. I helped organize their annual benefit concert Small Wonders Rocks and I co-wrote music and lyrics to ‘Hold on to your Dreams’ which I performed with my band LOLA.”

The Presidential Scholar nomination is made even more meaningful since it recognizes both artistic and academic achievements. Luckily, Oliviana is enrolled in a school that makes excelling academically even easier. 

The Role of Education

As you can probably tell from all her artistic endeavors, Oliviana has a lot going on. She didn’t want to sacrifice her extracurricular passions for an elite education. By enrolling in Laurel Springs, she doesn’t have to. An LSS student since Fall 2019, she feels switching schools “was one of the best decisions that I have ever made…I have been excited by my studies since there are so many different and diverse course offerings, and I have felt  constantly supported by my teachers and advisers, who really care about my well-being and my work, even though I have never met them in person.” Oliviana also doesn’t let the computer screen separate her from meeting new people. “I have made friends from all around the world…and I am so grateful for their friendships.”

Not only does she now have the “…freedom to focus on my creative endeavors, while still being supported academically. Laurel Springs has also taught me the importance of self-motivation and time management, which will hold me in good stead in a career.”

As for what she plans to do in the future? I’m sure you can guess. “I am currently applying to universities to study music composition! I have been spending a lot of time preparing my portfolio and preparing for auditions, while also trying to manage my current academic courses. As any senior knows, senior year is a lot of work, but I have felt constantly supported by my wonderful teachers at Laurel Springs.” Plus, the Presidential Scholar nomination provides a confidence boost. And we’re confident that Oliviana Marie is sure to excel at whatever role she takes on next.