Boyle County High School has been awarded a $10,000 grant to enhance and revitalize its theatre program. Inspired by NBC’s upcoming drama Rise, the network’s R.I.S.E. (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America program has awarded grants to 50 high schools across the nation.
NBC announced the 50 recipients, chosen from 1,000 school applicants, earlier today. The grants are designed to assist theatre programs with production expenses, technical equipment, master classes and other needs.
"It is a dream come true for me that 'Rise' will have a genuine impact on 50 high school drama programs throughout the country,” said Jason Katims, the show’s creator and executive producer. “It has never been clearer that the future of our country rests on the shoulders of the next generation of young leaders. I am excited about the notion that the R.I.S.E. America grants will help support, inspire and nurture creative young minds throughout the country, especially at a time when arts in education is under-valued and under-funded.”
Boyle County High School’s student-led effort began in January when drama teacher, Dr. Frieda Gebert, discovered the grant opportunity online. Her theatre students then came together to produce and submit a two-minute video that shared the potential impact the award would have to their program.
“Our students are passionate about theatre and the arts,” stated Gebert. “School theatre programs give kids an opportunity to find their voice – to grow their confidence and explore their passions. This grant provides us new opportunities to advance arts education and reach even more kids through our drama program.”
The announcement comes as Boyle County Schools breaks ground on a new 500-seat theatre for the performing arts. The state-of-the-art venue, with an expected completion date of August 2019, will provide students access to a professional theatre environment that inspires artistic excellence personal growth.
To qualify for the grant, schools must have an existing theatre program or a champion of theatre arts in their teaching staff in cases where a school’s theatre program was cut because of budget constraints. Each school submitted a video celebrating their theatre program and a 500-word essay explaining why their school should be awarded the grant and how they will use the $10,000 should they win. They also submitted a letter of recommendation from a school principal or administrator endorsing the application.