The Academy of College and Career Exploration’s (ACCE) after-school arts program, Careers in the Arts, has been recognized as a national semi-finalist for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ “Coming Up Taller Award.”

Careers in the Arts provides after-school extended learning to students at ACCE in various disciplines, including ensemble-created theater for social change and African drumming, comic book illustration and clay work. Young Audiences works with six different teaching artists, who visit the school three times a week.

The program was chosen from 459 similar arts initiatives from around the nation. The committee recently award 50 programs with certificates of achievement, and Careers in the Arts was among the lucky few.

“Each of your programs is using achievement in the arts as a bridge to achievement in life,” said first lady Michelle Obama of the honorees, according to a press statement.

“You help them see beyond the circumstances of their lives to the world of possibility that awaits them.”

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities describes the Coming Up Taller Award as an honor that “recognizes and supports outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s youth and provide them with new learning opportunities and a chance to contribute to their communities.”