Students who are members of the International Thespian Society (ITS) from Alabama, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas will be financially assisted in their college studies thanks to scholarships established by current and former leaders of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). The scholarships are for a variety of areas of theatre and related study including: technical theatre, theatre education, marketing, student achievement, and leadership.
Scholarships for leadership and achievement are:
The Educational Theatre Association Presidents’ Leadership Scholarship is created with donations from and in honor of past and current EdTA board presidents. This scholarship is for inducted Thespians who successfully demonstrate leadership abilities. The 2019 recipient is Emily Martin, Olathe North High School,Troupe 3310, Olathe, Kan. In addition to being a troupe officer for three years, including serving as president, and a state board member and Thespian Officer for two years, in 2018-19 Martin also served as the chair of the International Thespian Officers. In that role she represented the student voice of EdTA and ITS at Thespian activities across the country, teaching leadership and advocacy workshops. Martin says, “ITS has shaped me into a lifelong leader and advocate, and has given me the tools necessary to empower other student leaders in the future.”
The Michael J. Peitz Leadership Scholarship is awarded to an inducted Thespian who successfully demonstrates leadership abilities. The 2019 recipient is Zachary Lowhurst, Monte Vista High School, Troupe 6365, Danville, Calif. Lowhurst says, “Theatre has helped me become a more creative, innovative, forward-thinking individual beyond the curtains of my theater. In every aspect of my life theatre inspires me to push myself as a hard worker, self-starter, and leader, grabbing the chance to guide others.”
The Jhon Marshall/International Thespian Officers’ Outstanding Student Achievement Scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors who exemplify the ideals of the International Thespian Society. The 2019 recipient is Hayden Verbanas, Somerville High School, Troupe 659, Somerville, N.J. In addition to being troupe president, for two years he has been a volunteer writer and performer for Students Tackling Ordinary Problems (S.T.O.P.), an educational traveling theatre company. And he has taught music to adults and children with developmental disabilities. Verbanas says, “Theatre and music are not solely about the performer, but about the process of collaboration. Whether I was collaborating with fellow volunteers to write a scene about cyber bullying or learning in music class how to combine people’s strengths in a harmonious chord, giving back to my community has shown me the power of performance and the responsibility I have to improve others’ lives.”
Scholarships for education majors are:
The EdTA Board of Directors Scholarship is for Thespian alums who are undergraduate college students currently enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university, pursuing a career in theatre education. The 2019 recipient is Michaela Strausbaugh, alum of Dublin Scioto High School, Troupe 5440, Dublin, Ohio who is currently enrolled at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. A former State Thespian Officer for two years, Strausbaugh is pursuing a theatre education major and is on the executive board of Students Demand Action, an initiative of Everytown for Gun Safety, at Ball State University. She says, “I am proud of my theatrical background and being able to channel what I learned in high school to enacting positive change in my community.”
The Alan D. Engelsman and Penny Lu Engelsman Scholarship is awarded to a high school senior that will be pursuing an education major in theatre, technical theatre, playwriting, or English. The 2019 recipient is Leanna Lake, Corner High School, Troupe 6639, Dora, Ala. Lake copes with dyslexia and shares that for her, “The most outstanding methods to teach coping and organizational skills are found in the world of theatre.” She has served as her troupe’s stage manager, and this year coordinated a food drive with a neighboring school that resulted in 15,000 cans of food being donated.
The Bob and Marti Fowler Future Theatre Educator Scholarship is awarded to a student pursuing a theatre education major and who demonstrates leadership qualities. The 2019 recipient is Audrey Burgoon, Salina High School Central, Troupe 639, Salina, Kan. She will be pursuing degree in secondary education speech/theatre, a customized program at Kansas State University in which the education and theatre departments work together. She says she is “passionate about theatre education because it offers students an opportunity to learn traditional skills in a non-traditional learning environment.” Burgoon also served as an International Thespian Officer in 2018-19, traveling the country representing the student voice of EdTA and ITS, and teaching leadership and advocacy workshops.
Scholarships for other areas are:
The Austin Yeatman Technical Theatre Scholarship is for a graduating senior studying technical theatre in college. The 2019 recipient is Sarah Woods, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Troupe 5552, Acton, Mass. Continuing to build on her success as lighting designer for her school’s productions, she will be pursuing a degree in theatre design/technology with concentration in lighting design at Rutgers University.
The Christopher L. Hunt Scholarship, named in honor of the late Director of Marketing at EdTA is intended for inducted Thespians who plan to use skills learned through theatre in a career focused on business or marketing. The 2019 recipient is Cassidy Bailey, Clear Falls High School, Troupe 7648, League City, Texas. As troupe officer in charge of PR, she ran integrated marketing campaigns and tracked audience metrics for her school’s productions for three years.