Another successful year of the Starlight STARS of Tomorrow came to a close Feb. 2 with the program’s annual wrap party for participants and families.
Each year since 2006, the STARS program has welcomed approximately two dozen young artists in grades 7 through 12. They spend several months together, receiving intensive training in acting, singing and dance, attending master classes led by local and national musical theatre professionals, and representing Starlight Theatre by performing inside the venue during the summer and at local events during the fall and holiday months.
2016’s STARS came together in Starlight’s education pavilion to share pizza, celebrate the year’s special performance opportunities and reflect on what they’d learned. Each STAR had the opportunity to share what he or she was thankful for. One said she was thankful for “the amount of self-worth and confidence that has come from this group,” while another called her STARS’ experience “one of the most transformative times of my life.”
A highlight of the evening was the awarding of $500 college scholarships to two deserving STARS. The recipients were Dominica Johnson, a junior at Grandview Christian School, and Addison Landes, an eighth-grader at Frontier Trail Middle School in Olathe. Dominica was new to the STARS in 2016, and Addison has participated for the past two years. Both girls were recognized for the leadership qualities and positive attitudes they brought to the program.
“STARS has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” Addison told the group.
Funds for the scholarships are provided by longtime Starlight STARS of Tomorrow supporters Howard and Rosalyn Jacobson.
Families of all program participants were invited to watch the scholarship ceremony and, then, enjoy a special encore performance of the STARS’ 2016 summer Broadway medley.
“All of us at Starlight thank the Jacobsons, as well as the Jeannette and Jerome Cohen Philanthropic Fund, for their ongoing support of this important education program,” said Amy Reinert-Price, Starlight’s director of education. “We wish each of the graduating 2016 Starlight STARS all the best on their future endeavors!”