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Two New Scholarships to Develop Theatre Educators

students listen intently to a director

Three EdTA leaders have launched new scholarships to help develop future theatre educators.

The Gai Laing Jones Scholarship will provide support and recognition to past Thespians who are currently enrolled in a theatre education pre-service program. Each year, two pre-service candidates will receive a one-time $2,000 award.

Jones, EdTA’s board past president and an ETF trustee, taught theatre for nearly four decades. “I knew in the fifth grade that I wanted to be a theatre teacher,” said Jones, because of her work with her own mentor. She established the scholarship to help give a boost to aspiring theatre educators who were similarly inspired by their teachers.

“We in theatre education need pre-service theatre credential educators who love the teaching of theatre and inspiring youth,” said Jones. “Becoming a theatre educator takes perseverance and funds. Hopefully my contribution to this scholarship will help.”

Gai Laing Jones headshot
EdTA Past President and ETF trustee Gai Laing Jones has funded a named scholarship for pre-service theatre teachers.


Additionally, Brooke Phillips, co-director of EdTA’s Nebraska chapter, and Ray Palasz, Indiana co-chapter director, established the Future Theatre Educator Scholarship. In 2022, one $1,500 non-renewable scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university who intends to pursue a career in theatre education.

“As an international organization devoted to supporting theatre teachers around the world, it only makes sense that EdTA and ETF would help to cultivate our future members,” said Philips. “This is merely the foundation of what we hope will become a fully endowed scholarship for future theatre teachers that can award one or more scholarships each year.”

Ray Palasz with Brooke Phillips
EdTA chapter directors Ray Palasz and Brooke Phillips have launched a scholarship for graduating Thespians pursuing a college degree in theatre education.

Phillips and Palasz’s initial goal is to raise $25,000 to endow the scholarship, with a long-term objective of raising $125,000 in five years’ time so the endowment can pay out $6,000 every year, allowing the recipient to obtain a college degree and become tomorrow’s next theatre teacher.

Applications for these and other scholarships for Thespians will open October 1. If you’d like to contribute to the Future Theatre Educator Scholarship fund, visit our online donation page, select your designation as a scholarship, and type “Donation for Future Theatre Educator Scholarship” in the comments.


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