November 10, 2014

Photo by Steve E. Purcell

On November 10, 2014 at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama presented Project STEP with the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. Project STEP student Ajani Boyd and Executive Director Mary Jaffee (pictured above) traveled to Washington to accept the award on behalf of the entire Project STEP community.

The NAHYP Award is the highest honor for arts and humanities programs in the United States, and is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Chosen from a national pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists, Project STEP is one of 12 programs across the country to receive the award. Programs that receive the award exemplify how arts and humanities programs increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment, as well as improve literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.

Project STEP was recognized for its rigorous, comprehensive year-round classical string training program for minorities that invites them into the world of classical music, from which they have traditionally been excluded.

The NAHYP award is presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Click HERE to read the full press release.

Watch Michelle Obama’s speech at minute 28:00. Ajani Boyd and Mary Jaffee accept the award at the 59:45 minute mark!

Photo by Rachel Saudek


I am extremely proud to see Project STEP receive the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award,” says Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “By targeting and serving populations that have been typically underrepresented in classical music, Project STEP is evening the playing field, changing lives, and showcasing the great talent of our children. I am thrilled to see them recognized on a national level and offer my sincerest congratulations and wishes for continued success.”

-The Honorable Mayor Martin J. Walsh