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Grace Sorenson signing autographs

Grace Sorensen took a leap of faith when she dared to dream of studying theatre in college. She will tell you her family lives at what is considered a low-income level, and yet now she is a first-generation college student! With a combination of tenacity and the financial support of the two scholarships she won at the International Thespian Festival in June 2021—the Grace Kelly Scholarship and the Amy Bennett Musical Theatre Scholarship—Sorensen is now a freshman at the University of Oklahoma.

“Winning these scholarships and the reputation associated with them is incredible. I never pictured myself going to university for the subject I love (if even going to university at all, given my financial situation),” Sorensen says. “At the end of my senior year, I was working full-time in fast food amidst a pandemic, working on graduating high school, doing theatre, and dealing with family stuff. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d make it into the pool for scholarships given who I was up against,” she goes on to say. Yet she made time to apply for the aid and was awarded two scholarships.

Sorensen’s humility and transparency about her life are just two qualities that make her shine. Her acting talent speaks for itself, and her willingness to do the sometimes-tedious work of searching for and applying for aid are testaments to her determination to succeed.

Thespian Troupe 7715 from Redmond Proficiency Academy in Oregon can be proud of this alum. Sorensen is pursuing a B.F.A. in Acting at the Helmerich School of Drama. Sorensen is quick to express her gratitude: “To those who are current, past, and future donors supporting students/artists like me: thank you for everything you’ve given us, me, and future creators. These scholarships have undoubtedly changed my life. Because of you, I’m auditioning for my first plays at university. I’m beginning my journey into the academic and professional world.”

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