2021 Scholarship Winner Interviews
Dare to Dream Scholarship Winners Interview Q/A 2021
Interview by Joshua Trotter ‘14
2021 Scholarship Winners:
Sara Reynolds ‘21 – Point Park University – Musical Theatre
Connie Viars ‘21 – Northern Kentucky University – Dance
Elliott Brown ‘21- The Ohio State University – Arts Management
Maya Norman ‘21- Baldwin Wallace University – Acting/ Arts Management/ Entrepreneurship
This scholarship was only made possible by the generosity of our Dues-paying Alumni Membership and other supportive donations we were able to award our 2021 winners with a total of $3,000!
OUR BIGGEST SCHOLARSHIP AWARD TO DATE!
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Alumni Board Member Joshua Trotter ’14 got to sit down with the 2021 Dare to Dream Scholarship Recipients to talk about their experiences at SCPA and what they will take with them on their paths into college and beyond!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, When did you first start attending SCPA, and what your major was?
Sara: My name is Sara Reynolds. I obviously just graduated from SCPA. I started attending SCPA in the 5th Grade, and my majors started out as Vocal and Orchestra. I stuck with Orchestra until about 7th grade and when I became eligible for more Musical Theatre stuff I stuck with Musical Theatre and Vocal.
Connie: My name is Connie Viars. I came to SCPA four years ago when I was a freshman. I was a Dance Major. I was attracted to SCPA because I heard I would get to dance every day!
Elliott: I’m Elliott Brown and I was a Vocal Major. I started attending SCPA my freshman year of high school. I came from a really small catholic school so it was a big change for sure.
Maya: My name is Maya Norman and I was a drama major and I’ve attended SCPA since the first grade when it was Schiel.
Q: What originally got you interested in the arts?
Sara: I was about 6 or 7 and my older sister, my middle sister pushed me to do theatre camp. It was a small theatre camp on my side of town and we were putting on Annie Jr. The first day of the camp we had to audition for the parts we were going to get. We had to sing and I cried so hard because I was terrified. The woman who ran the camp had to come up and sing it with me but after that theatre was like a bug and I’ve loved it ever since then.
Connie: It’s kinda funny, I grew up watching High School Musical and I always tried to learn the moves and sing along so I think that’s where I fell in love. I also did Gymnastics and was on a competition dance team since age six.
Elliott: I would say I’ve always loved music. When I was in preschool I remember I’d ask my Dad to play his favorite Maxwell songs. I remember not being afraid to sing Alica Keys for my teachers. I even went through a Michael Jackson phase! So music and performing has always been a part of me.
Maya: I’ve always liked performing and I was always the one dressing up my family members with different hats and clothing and would have them act and then I would perform for them because I wanted to be the star! So I owe my passion to my family.
Q: Is there a teacher at SCPA (Academic or in the arts) that really pushed you or challenged you in any way?
Sara: Definitely Ms.Wyant (Vocal), I was in the children’s choir then in 7th grade I started taking more lessons with her. She’s definitely been my confidant all throughout my time at SCPA. Also, Lea and Drew Lachey (Music Theatre) have always really pushed me and had more faith in me than I had in myself at times.
Connie: All 3 of my Dance teachers Mr. Bajoza, Mrs. Rozow, and Ms. Swienhart really would like to push me and help me develop new skills. Also, my chemistry teacher Mr.Norman would push me to complete all my work in his class. He really challenged me and I’m thankful and better because of it.
Elliott: I’d have to mention Mr.Stuckey (Jazz), Mr.Hand (Vocal), and Lea Lachey (Music Theatre). Mr.Stuckey was always so funny and inclusive with me because I was in his music engineering class and I’d never experienced a class like that. The same was true for Meridian 8 with Mr. Hand. All my teachers were very pristine and particular about sound and music. I learned a lot.
Maya: My top 3… Ms.Kleesattel (Drama/Stage Management), Mr.Crowley (Drama), and Mr. Lugars (Math). I love Crowley and Lugar because they really pushed me in class but also they just talked to us as people and were very respectful. Ms.Kleesattel holds a special place in my heart. She was the first teacher to cast me in a show and she also was the last person to cast me in a show at SCPA my senior year! She was a constant supportive force in my corner in everything I wanted to do.
Q: In your opinion, what was the most amazing thing about going to SCPA?
Sara: The performance opportunities as well as the collaboration that students got to have when we worked together on things like the Major Musical. I love how all of us would start rehearsing or working separately, and as the weeks went on the techies, the orchestra, and all the other needed elements for a show would seamlessly blend together.
Connie: Seeing all the Majors that supported each other. Visual artists that went to the Dramas or Creative Writers that showed up to the ballets and vice versa.
Elliott: Oh my gosh, I’d have to say doing shows and being backstage with everyone and honestly rehearsing and having time to laugh and work with friends. Watching all the pieces of a show come together was probably the best part for me.
Maya: The community of supportive people and the skill sets you to learn. I think the skill set you learn at SCPA of how to carry yourself but also how to work with others is really great. Those things can only be taught in an environment where the teaching staff is coming from the real world and wants to introduce you to those skills so you’ll be prepared.
Q: It’s no secret that the COVID -19 Pandemic stole a part of the class of 2021’s senior year. What was that time like for all of you and what senior event do you wish you could still participate in?
Sara: I remember at the end of Junior year we all thought it was only going to last a few months. I felt really bad for the class of 2021. I knew Senior year was going to be really different but I just thought we’d be masked but we were all online and things kept changing back and forth. I didn’t even participate in the Major Musical because of how stressful it was.
Connie: The pandemic gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do for my next steps. Being split apart from my friends who came to school on opposite days and the fact we didn’t have homecoming was upsetting. So it was good for focus and being alone but not being able to be with everyone made it extremely hard.
Elliott: Honestly, it was like disappointment after disappointment. Your senior year you look forward to all these different events and experiences and overnight everything was unknown. At one point all of our classes were online and everyone, teachers, and students were just stressed out. Still, the class of 2021 hung in there and we graduated!
Maya: I was 2021 Class President, and I knew we would have to try to still make this year memorable in spite of the pandemic. I really tried to be there for my classmates and support them from everything from college to prom and graduation. My class made the decision to do graduation outside at Riverbend Music Center so it would be both a safe and meaningful ceremony. SCPA students know how to pivot but this was another level. It was a lot of hard work for the seniors and our teachers but I think we still made it through. We still got to keep the traditions like class day and the shows alive! I’m proud of us.
Q: When you found out you won the Alumni Associations Dare to Dream Scholarship, How did you feel?
Sara: I was very excited and relieved because college is expensive! I am truly grateful for the scholarship and those who chose me! It’s like a breath of fresh air.
Connie: My mom told me I won a scholarship and I was like “No, not me.. Right?” I was pleasantly surprised. I had no idea because I don’t usually win these types of things.
Elliott: Well, it’s kinda funny because I don’t usually answer calls I don’t know. So when I got the call to tell me I won the scholarship I didn’t answer it. When I called back and was told I won, my mom was so happy for me! I was happy but a little embarrassed that I didn’t answer the phone sooner! I’ll have to clean out my voicemail from now on! But I’m very grateful and just glad that I was even considered for the scholarship.
Maya: Oh my gosh! I was lowkey surprised! I was at work when I found out and I just felt like everything was falling into place when I got that news. My graduation party was approaching and I just got some money from school as well. It also got me excited to know that I was joining N’daya and Madison from the class of 2020 on that list of Alumni Scholarship Recipients.
Q: What are your current post SCPA plans and what led you to that decision?
Sara: I’m going to Point Park University in Downtown Pittsburgh! I will be getting my BFA in Musical Theatre. I know a few SCPA Alumni who go there so I have a community in Pittsburgh that I can turn to.
Connie: I’m going to NKU as a Dance BFA major. I’m going to room with my sister! I’m staying local so I can still be close to friends and family.
Elliott: I am attending The Ohio State University majoring in Arts Management. I’m excited to get out of Cincinnati and explore on my own but I’m more so interested in exploring my major because It contributes to what I hope to do in the future.
Maya: I will be going to Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, OH for Acting/Directing, Arts Management, and Entrepreneurship. Not too far from home and not too close.
Q: How will the support of this scholarship help in your next steps in life?
Sara: To know that I’m going to have a little extra boost for my freshman year is really good news! It makes me worry a little less and focus on what I’m in school to do.
Connie: It’s going to help me go to school and do what I love to do and not have to worry about the financial burden that goes along with going to college. I am very happy to have it.
Elliott: Besides the money part and getting that financial help with school, I’m just proud I was able to be a part of the scholarship. I’ve never won something like this before and I’m happy it can help with my journey in the future.
Maya: I’m going to a private school and there are so many things I know it will help with! Books, Meal Plans, Housing, the scholarship will be able to ease the burden of those expenses. Oh, and dance shoes because I know I have to take a dance class in the first semester!
Q: What is something you learned at SCPA that you think will help you move forward?
Sara: Honestly just professionalism, how to operate in a professional environment. I also have developed a good work ethic. At SCPA you have to learn the balance between AP classes and the major musical, and that teaches you to dig deep and get it all done and I think I will take all of that with me.
Connie: I feel like I’ve learned to be self-sufficient but also I’ve learned to lean on other people. I learned when to reach out for help and when to do things for myself and push myself to do something.
Elliott: I have learned that everyone has something that gets them going. Everyone has their own amount of spunk and spice. I think when you get to know people you start to understand who you are and what you want. So I would say I’ve learned to be understanding and I’ve learned to be more myself.
Maya: Positivity goes a long way. It sounds simple but it’s really not. You never know if someone is having a hard day but by simply being positive you can help make it better. SCPA taught me that.
Q: If you could leave any advice for the Rising Senior Class of 2022, What advice would you give them when it comes to being an SCPA Senior?
Sara: Try to enjoy the moments that come along with Senior Year! There are so many silly things about senior year that I missed out on and I didn’t realize how much I was actually looking forward to it. So try to enjoy the moments that you have and lean into them, cherish them.
Connie: Put effort into your senior year! I know it’s easy to slack off because you’re almost out of there but keep pushing. Senior year is probably the most important time to push yourself because you will definitely continue to grow this year.
Elliott: Take those chances, take those opportunities, and even if they don’t work out you can say at least I tried. Also, keep your friends close this year, those relationships are important. Lastly, continue to strive for your goals because it is possible if you really want it!
Maya: Don’t slack off! Don’t slack off on your college things and even if you decide not to go to college, whatever you want to do- do it now! Always try to have a plan! Whatever, your plan in life is work at it, write it down, make it happen.
A sincere thank you goes to all of this year’s scholarship winners for sharing their stories with us! To donate to our scholarship for the SCPA class of 2022 click here to find out more information. Donations