Jonathan Kapilian Earns Prestigious National Distinctions

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LBHS Senior Excels in the Classroom and on Stage

Senior year is starting off strong for Long Beach High School’s Jonathan Kapilian. The hardworking student recently began his final year in the district with two major national achievements: he was named a National Merit Semifinalist through the National Merit Scholarship Program, and he was selected to perform with the All-National Honor Ensembles, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education.

The designation of National Merit Semifinalist is based on students’ performance on the Preliminary SAT, which serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Each year, an estimated 1.5 million students from across the nation enter this academic competition by taking the test, and approximately 16,000 of them earn semifinalist status. Those who achieve this level of distinction represent the highest-scoring entrants in each state and have the opportunity to advance to finalist status with the prospect of winning scholarship awards.

Jonathan is the first student in Long Beach High School history to earn acceptance to the All-National Honor Ensembles performance, which will be held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 25-28.  As one of the top student tenors in the country, he was chosen for the All-National Mixed Choir. NAfME established the National Honor Ensembles as the ultimate recognition of music student performance, beyond state and divisional levels. At the high school, Jonathan practices under the guidance of teacher Michael Capobianco. He also hones his talents at the Usdan Center for the Performing Arts.   

In terms of academics, Jonathan is an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate focusing his extended essay on “The Effect of Population Density on Carbon Dioxide Emissions per Capita.” He is a National Honor Society member and award-winning science research participant in several regional competitions including the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Jonathan also serves as co-president of the Mathletes competition team, which he founded, and has been recognized as a Long Island Young Scholar of Mathematics through the Institute of Creative Problem Solving. He studies advanced science and mathematics through the Columbia Science Honors Program.

Musically, Jonathan is an accomplished cellist, in addition to his success as a vocalist. He performs with several school ensembles, including the symphonic choir, Soundwaves, symphonic orchestra, chamber orchestra, string quartet and jazz band, and is also president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Jonathan was one of only six tenors at the New York State School Music Association’s All-State Vocal Jazz Festival last year, and is a six-time All-County performer as well as a two-time Long Island String Festival participant. He was also accepted to the New York State Summer School of the Arts’ School of Orchestral Studies, where he had the opportunity to learn from members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and take the Saratoga Performing Arts Center stage this past summer.  

“I am extremely excited to go to the All-National music festival and visit Nashville,” Jonathan said. He said his musical involvement helps him practice time management and diligence, which is “translatable to anything,” as it emphasizes “the importance of working hard and practicing a lot.”