A senior at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities is graduating this month with national honors.
Aidan Forster was one of 20 students selected nationwide as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. The Taylors native is the only student from South Carolina nominated by the National YoungArts Foundation and was selected as a finalist in creative writing.
He said the honor was the culmination of a year’s work and he is most proud of the accomplishment. “It’s essentially placing us onto an equal promontory of young artists, which is really exciting for me,” he said. “To be included with these people whose performances I saw who absolutely blew me away and stupefied me and how incredible their artistry is, just to think that my art has the potentiality is really exciting.”
Forster was also the first recipient of the 2018 YoungArts Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award, which provides a $50,000 scholarship. In the 2018 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition, he received several medals for his writing portfolio. He is a National Merit Finalist. He was included in the 2017 Best New Poets annual anthology of 50 poems from emerging writers published by the University of Virginia.
“The primary power of language for me is the capacity for empathy or for generating a sort of empathetic experience in the readers,” he said. “Sort of like translating an experience that is otherwise inexplainable or unexplainable.”
Forster was accepted at Yale University, Stanford University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California Berkeley and will be attending Brown University in the fall to study literary arts.
He credits his experience and the teachers at the Governor’s School in Greenville for encouraging his creativity.
“From the first day of class, I felt like I was an adult,” he said. “I was being treated as an adult. It was a mature space for the configuration of language. I never felt like, ‘oh, I’m a teenager writing poems.”
Forster said he is also grateful for his 14 classmates he’s shared the past two years.
“It’s been really incredible to have that close support network and to have access and those constant artistic translations and dialogues fueling my work.”