LONG ISLAND - It only took Ava Lithgow a few days at Long Island High School for the Arts to realize she was right in the right place.
"With Long Island High School for the Arts they really give you tools to just run with your ability," Lithgow said.
And now the specialized school that trains aspiring performers and those who work behind the scenes will have even more money to support these efforts after Grammy Award-winning singer and Long Islander Billy Joel and his foundation pledged $1.5 million to the program.
"I’m happy that he sees potential in the school to produce the next generation of performers and actors and artists," Lithgow said.
This isn’t the first time the Piano Man has shown his support for the program either - Billy Joel’s Foundation came to the rescue after the school was in danger of closing back in 2016.
"The initial donation actually really helped to save the school and now with this continued upswing in enrollment it’s allowing us and affording us the opportunity to make capital improvements to help with equipment and things of that nature," said assistant principal Erica Giglio Pac.
The school is on track to serve one of its largest classes of as many as 350 students this fall.
Antonio Urrutia hopes to be Broadway bound. The senior is finishing up his last semester and says he’s grateful for all that he has learned.
"This school has pushed me enough to the point where I can find my own authenticity while learning from the masters of theater, dance, acting and singing," Urrutia said.
And add to the list a new multimedia journalism program launching this fall.
Joel says the school’s vision inspired him and the foundation to continue to their support and he’s proud of the positive impact on the next generation of artists.
"It’s a tribute to Long Island, a tribute to his commitment to the arts and particularly to young kids to keep the arts flowing and moving here on Long Island," said Nassau BOCES district superintendent Dr. Bob Dillon.
Supporting the arts and the dreams of past, present and future students.