2015 Wilburn Fellows Named

Published Wednesday, February 10, 2016
by Nick Depuy

The Wilburn Fellowship celebrated its fourth year at New Canaan High School during the just past 2014-15 school year, coming to a successful close at the Awards Assembly held April 27, 2015.

The gathering was attended by the named Finalists, many of the applicants, teachers and department heads, members of the guidance department, as well as several members of the Fellowship Committee and others interested in the legacy of the Reverend Gary Wilburn in whose honor the Fellowship was created.

During the last school year’s Awards competition, the Committee received 18 applications (a record) representing a wide range of creative proposals to bring people of difference together, making the Fellowship Committee’s “job” of choosing Finalists and the 2015 Fellows as difficult as ever.


As such, and for the second year running, the Committee recognized two Finalists’ projects by naming both as Wilburn Fellows, NCHS junior, John Bemis for Colors In Jazz, (, a comprehensive analysis of the role jazz music has played as a catalyst for diversity across the United States and the world, and sophomores, Bhaskar Abhiraman,  Amy Chu and Katie Zaborowska for Colors Across Cultures (, a community art exhibit that exemplified the beauty of differing world cultures, also raising monies from the sale of the gallery prints for the Edison School in Bridgeport to assist in the funding of that School’s Visual Arts Department.

While many of the applications had great merit and while all the Finalists’ projects were well done, the Fellowship Committee believed that the two Finalist projects, for which the authors were named the 2015 Wilburn Fellows, were exemplary in that they best exemplified the Mission of the Fellowship to foster the understanding humanity’s differences, such that those differences can not only be respected, but embraced and celebrated.  Often how better to celebrate our differences than through the universal languages of art and music.

To view both honored Fellows’ works, they can be seen by clicking to them on the opening page banner on the Wilburn Fellowship website, and the summary video of the 2015 Awards presentation, shot and edited by Fellowship student advisor Charlie Hoffman and Jack Dahill, can be reviewed by clicking HERE.

The Fellowship Committee continues to be greatly pleased with the progress of and the enthusiasm generated by the Wilburn Fellowship at New Canaan High School through its first four years, and it looks forward to NCHS students’ submission of wonderful projects that bring people of difference together in the 2015-16 school year.