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How DC’s Duke Ellington Students Inspire Each Other, Dream Of Oscar Fame

WASHINGTON (7News) — At Duke Ellington School of the Arts, creativity thrives. And you never know, you could be sharing the stage or a class with a future Oscar winner.


Senior Rainah Taylor dreams that will be her — as you can see from the prop she chose for her senior pictures.


“The motivation was I think when I look back at it... after the Oscar, I can say ‘guys, I told you I was going to get one.’ I just love it,” Taylor said. “I think acting is the only thing I care about at this point.”


“It was a foreshadow,” she said. “I told you guys I was going to get one.”

Students here are some of the country’s brightest talents and they can talk movies with you all day.


Talking about movies, Senior Renata Mills said, “horror can delve into so many topics.”


Like Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” with flashes of their talent making cameos when you least expect it!


Filmmaker and standup comedian Miki Mulugeta channels Jay-Z: “First and foremost I want to think ABC7News for this opportunity to be able to do this interview and Ma, if you’re watching I’m on TV.”


And on Oscar night, many of these star kids tune in for inspiration.


“Getting to see so many different kinds of people, with very different voices, and different stories to tell and different kind of genres of cinema nominated for the same awards,” said Senior Anya Barrus. “It just kind of makes me feel like there’s room for my stories and for everyone else’s and that’s very inspiring.”


Still, they tell me they get even more motivation from each other — including Muhammad Abdullah who’s off to Berkeley School of Music on a full ride after graduation.


“You don’t realize how much is here until you step outside and you start to mingle with other artists it’s a sense of gratefulness you have with this institution,” said Abdullah.


“Something I love about our school especially is we push each other to be our best and just walking through the halls is a huge collaborative effort being around artists and it makes you want to be the best artist you can be,” said senior Lauren Williams.


“Remember there’s so much history in Hollywood that is ready to be made and there’s so many young people making it,” Williams added. “So, you can watch these movies, but make sure to pay attention to these Indie artists and these Indie filmmakers, and these smaller works of art because they’re important too and they tell important stories too.”


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