Confronting Identity: An Arts & Ideas Fellows Town Hall

It has become a Festival tradition for our high school Festival Fellows to begin our Festival and Ideas program with their own Town Hall. Join them this year as they explore the themes of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, opening up a public discussion examining the importance of one's culture and background, gender, and name.

Ideas talks are going on all Festival long! Read our advice on how to get the most from these explorative conversations >

Guy Ada-George

Guy Ada-George is a junior at New Haven Academy. He lives in Hamden with his mother and sister. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria and migrated to the US when he was three. He admires his mother for her strength and creative side. She is his inspiration when it comes to creative writing. Guy has been a part of fashion collective “200 Degrees” and an intern at R Kids Family Center.

Emily Anastasio

Emily Anastasio was born and raised in New Haven. She enjoyed growing up here because of all the outdoor activities available within walking distance. She looks up to her cousin Jordan, a phenomenal athlete and writer who passed away young but made a lasting impact on his family and teammates. Emily never lets failure get in the way. She hopes to one day be a photographer and coach, or even a sports photographer.

Maya Brehon

Maya Brehon was born in Monterey Bay, California. She is a sophomore at Amistad High School and has been a part of its pre-college program. She loves to cook and play sports.

Muntasir Chowdhury

Muntasir Chowdhury currently lives in the Amity neighborhood. He loves soccer and describes himself as being determined and kind.

Daniela Flores

Daniela Flores currently lives in Fair Haven and has lived in New Haven for her entire life. Her hobbies include reading, playing music, and knitting.

Rafael Flores

Rafael Flores challenges himself everyday in a country he’s getting used to living in. Rafael has been drawing since he was young, and what makes him happy is making other people happy.

Keona-Marie Gomes

Keona-Marie Gomes gives 110% in ​everything she does. She is an art lover and actress. Keona values diligence and a willingness to be taught. She is always ready to step in and help others.

Jillian Gordneer

Jillian Gordneer is a junior at Co-Op High School. She enjoys dancing and playing basketball.

Mia Izquierdo

Mia Izquierdo is a sophomore in the Pre-AP program at James Hill House. She plays volleyball and softball and is the manager for the New Haven wrestling team. She enjoys drawing and plans to go to college to become a social worker and a lawyer in social justice.

Francesca Lewis

Francesca Lewis was born in New Haven and has spent most of her life here, but also considers Frankfurt, Germany a second home. She is a junior at Wilbur Cross High School and the managing editor/arts editor of the school newspaper. She spends much of her free time volunteering and is passionate about writing, visual art, and music.

Genesis Maldonado

Genesis Maldonado is a junior in high school who has been interested in the arts for as long as she can remember. She believes that it is important to be able to express yourself in a way that cannot be restricted by others. In the future she would like to attend college to major in film and later become a movie director.

Yoselin Samanta Marin Sotelo

Yoselin Samanta Marin Sotelo was born and raised in New Haven. Her hobbies include reading, sketching and surfing the internet.

Sanai McDonald

Sanai McDonald is a sophomore at Wilbur Cross High school in New Haven. She is a dancer at Tia Russell Dance Studio and Educational Center for the Arts (ECA). After high school, she plans to attend college with the goal of becoming a teacher or a doctor.

Esther O’Shea

Esther O’Shea has always liked creating things, figuring out how things go together and coming up with different uses for things. Esther spends a lot of time creating films, specifically music videos, designing and building skateboards, and playing different instruments.

Natalia Maria Padilla Castellanos

Natalia Maria Padilla Castellanos lives in New Haven. She was born in Guatemala and lived there for 10 years until her family moved to Connecticut. She has lived in the East Rock neighborhood ever since coming to the United States. Natalia is thoughtful, headstrong, and compassionate. Her role models are her parents because of all that they have been through. In her spare time, she loves to listen to music and cook; her love for cooking and baking came specifically from her mother.

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