All Applicants Must:
Be an East Hampton High School Senior.
Have a current weighted grade point average of 2.5 or higher.
Have been accepted to and plan to attend an institution for higher education.
Fully complete the assigned application.* You do not need to be pursuing theatre in college.
RECIPIENTS OF THE SERENA SEACAT THEATRE ARTS SCHOLARSHIP
$45,000 Awarded to Date
Nick Pucci - Class of 2016
For me, being involved in theatre has not only proved to be something I'm passionate about, but it has changed me as a person. I did theatre in middle school and then rediscovered my love for it my sophomore year of high school. Theatre taught me how to deal with things that might not be in my comfort zone. I joined the musical in the middle of rehearsals my sophomore year just because it became something I wanted to do. There was no one telling me to do it, I just wanted to. That's something I learned from doing theatre, is that if you want to do something, you should just do it and not rely on what other people want you to do. As my junior year came along, I got a larger part in the musical. This further tested my comfort levels on the stage and as a person in general. By the time the show concluded I felt a new level of self-confidence. I felt I further discovered myself as a person and I couldn't be more grateful for that. Senior year's musical, Rent, further cemented my passion for the arts. Doing theatre each year defined me as a person and each year I broke further and further out of my comfort zone. Best of Broadway was also one of the most fun experiences I've ever had in high school. Doing Best of Broadway helped me develop a stronger relationship with the people I was associated with. I felt myself becoming more connected to my peers and my directors and to me that was awesome. It helped remind me that this art form is not really about yourself, it is about collaboration. I am currently attending Emerson college and I am studying film production. I am not studying theatre but does that mean that everything I've learned from doing theatre has gone to waste? Absolutely not. I work with actors when I am involved in film (I sometimes even act in my own work). I still study the art of acting and direction. I am now learning the differences between screen acting and acting in live theatre. My advice to young actors still in high school is to never stop learning. Surround yourself with many different types of art. If you're into theatre, please surround yourself with other art forms. For example, watch movies, watch television, listen to music, read books (something I wish I did more of in high school), don't limit yourself to one art form. They all have similarities and the more you know, the better you will be. Another piece of advice is to always practice. Anywhere you go, you can find a way to practice whether it be singing in the car or making silly voices when you're fooling around with your friends. Find a chance to be an actor in everything you do; if there are video students looking for actors, get involved with them. If you have a presentation in class that you're nervous for, pretend it's like a performance (I found that it helps quite often). I would also advise to be aware of yourself, learn when you are making a mistake and try to improve no matter what. Don't expect everything to just fall into your lap so easily, we all have dreams but if we don't put in the work it takes to accomplish them, they won't come true. Finally, don't worry about what other people are doing. For example, I'm not worried about what another film student is making, I'm just focusing on what I can do to make my own project the best possible thing it can be. When I follow that mentality, I find it to be a little bit less stressful. That's just some advice I have, but I don't know it all. I'm still learning everyday too. Theatre has shaped the person I am today. I am so grateful to have had those experiences in high school. Will I return to the stage some day? I sure hope so. But if I had to chose any stage, it would be the one that shaped me to become the person I am today.
Yeah Franco-Marin - Class of 2016
I have been doing theater since the 3rd grade and ever since then I have been glued to it. I didn't join the high school theater program until I was a junior. A lot of my class joined that year because Grease appealed to us. I was cast as Sonny, it was a good role to acclimate to the program. Senior year however was the best year, of course. With a new, fresh program design we as students were given so much more artistic freedom. Being cast as Collins in RENT challenged me as an artist and actor. I was able to tap into a deep part of myself in order to reach such emotions. Theater is such a place of love and acceptance. It helps people work together to make something so beautiful. We were and still are a family that grows every year. With Laura as our captain and all of us as team players, we made history. We learned to reach beyond limits and go for more than we expected. Now I attend New York University majoring in Media, Culture, and Communications. I brought all those qualities and lessons with me here. I advise students to appreciate the hard work done to help them. Learn to work hard because hard work and dedication brings results. Appreciate the program you are in and cherish it while in it because you will miss it. Thank you EEYA for everything you do to help the arts thrive in our community.
Julie Ehm - Class of 2016
Theatre has always been something of major interest to me beginning in the 4th grade. Getting into highschool however, I did not have the guts to audition for a play until auditions were held for Grease the musical my Junior year. I would say the audition process was immensely intimidating because I hadnt been involved in theatre since middle school. I learned that a lot of courage was needed to sing in front of others, as well as to bring my character, Patty Simcox, to life. Learning lines - repeating them over and over, required discipline and eagerness. I wanted to be able to give the play my all and convince the audience that they were watching someone else from their childhood movie. For Rent, I loved being involved with all of the dances because dance is something I am immensely passionate about. With each scene my character progressed through the story alongside Mimi and Angel. Best of Broadway taught me that anything can be accomplished no matter the time frame, and that learning skills such as tapping and singing while dancing are fun to practice. Working on a project this large with several costumes and dance numbers made me excited to attend practice everyday. I wish that I had done best of broadway all the years I could have, rather than joining only my senior year. Best of Broadway brought students of all ages together in ways that not many productions can. Each number was so unique and made me sing along every rehearsal. I am now attending school at Susquehanna University with a major in Communications: Marketing and Advertising. For the young actors still in highschool, I would say to take every opportunity to be on stage because it is an amazing rush and experience you cannot get anywhere else. New friends are made, new skills are acquired, and there is a sense of proudness from accomplishing something bigger than yourself, helping unite the community.
GEORGIA BENNET - CLASS OF 2015
I absolutely adored taking part in the productions at East Hampton High School. They are some of the fondest memories I have of my schooling experience at East Hampton. I’ll never forget how much I enjoyed singing the songs in the musicals and how hard I worked to make it through the dance numbers. Being part of the productions was like having a family of people my own age. Through the productions I learned how to speak publicly with confidence and poise. This skill is extremely important for me at college because I am able to communicate effectively with my professors and peers. I go to Northwestern University and am majoring in Chemical Engineering. Northwestern emphasizes well-rounded engineers. Theater has truly benefitted me in making me more well-rounded.
KELLY BOLES - CLASS OF 2015
Currently I am a student at High Point University in North Carolina studying Elementary Education with a possible minor in Spanish. Being a part of all of the musicals and Best of Broadway has helped me become more comfortable performing on stage and speaking in front of large groups of people. In addition, I am now able to allow myself to get out of my comfort zone and be myself. Each of these have contributed to my development as a young adult and furthered my love for the theatre. In the fall 2015 semester, I took a Theatre class and found that I was able to relate to the course material more and have a greater appreciation for the class as a whole. Some of my favorite memories from high school were centered around the musicals and time I spent at the rehearsals. My absolute favorite memory was when the Angels were dancing to Heaven Hop in Anything Goes and Serena jumped up on stage and was dancing behind us. This reminded all of us that it's okay to have fun and not all of the time we spend there needs to be serious and how great of a dancer she really is. Other memories that stand out to me are meeting new people, working together to put on a show and the countless hours we spent laughing together. The theatre creates a family within it and I am incredibly grateful to have been apart of it. One piece of advice I would give would be is be willing to try something new. You might not like it in the beginning or it might not be what your friends are doing, but it's okay. Also, it's okay to step out of your comfort zone. Everyone you are working with, is there to help and support you. Being involved with the theatre has helped shaped me into the person I am today. It has also given me some of my absolute best friends, who I never would have met if I wasn't involved. I am honored to have won this scholarship and cannot wait to be back on stage. Break a leg!
Alexandra Lopez - Class of 2014
My first experiences with Serena were short ones, I was in the fifth grade trying out for the second school play of the year. Going to the audition took a lot of courage, and I wasn't even sure if I was going to continue, but I stuck with it because Serena made me feel like I had potential. The auditions were nerve-wracking for a modest fifth grader, but it was fun at the same time because Serena made me feel comfortable enough to be able to give it my all. I knew by the time I got my part that I was going to do this for the rest of my middle school years. As it turns out, I ended up doing the high school plays as well.
I am now attending The Pennsylvania State University at University Park, majoring in forensic science with a minor in anthropology. The studies are hard, and the people sometimes can be even harder, but I've been able to show respect and kindness because I learned how important it was while doing the middle school and high school plays. Serena not only coached us to be great performers, but also great people. She taught us to always put school work first, and stand up straight, and to look people in the eye when talking, among other things. If I were to give any advice to the people walking in my footsteps, I would say to stick with what makes you happiest, and keep your mind open to any new opportunities that come your way.
EMILY MATZ - CLASS OF 2014
My name is Emily Matz, and I am a first-year at Smith College, which is a small, all-female liberal arts college in western Massachusetts. I am double majoring in Engineering Science and Music. Working in the arts and theatre have heavily influenced my life as a college student. Having varied interests in the arts including theatre and other types of visual performance have opened up new doors and created many opportunities for me. Being part of a cast, I am always meeting new people with whom I share similar interests, and some of them love theatre as much as I do.
I worked with Serena in my freshman, sophomore and junior years of high school, but some of my favorite moments with her were after her retirement, during my senior year. I was cast as Queen Aggravain in Once Upon A Mattress, and Serena came to see the show. I remember after the show, Serena told me how proud she was of me and the rest of the cast. I'll always remember what she said to me: "I've stuck you in so many different roles, and I'm so happy you found this one." Reflecting back, it was a very special moment during my years in the theatre department at EHHS, and I was really honored to be awarded Serena's scholarship a few months later. I would like to say one thing to younger students who are looking ahead: don't be intimidated by the idea of college. There is always such a pressure to get into an amazing school, but I do not the think the national ranking of the school of your choice defines you. College is truly what you make of it, and there is a school or program out there for everyone. As long as you keep an open mind and follow your heart, you will do well for yourself.
MATTHEW NAPOLILLO - CLASS OF 2014
The best memories I have from high school were thanks to the theater program at EHHS. Serena was the one that made the show amazing each time. She taught us to work hard, and inspired us to put our all into every single performance. I will always remember the memories we all made in that auditorium. I now attend Drexel University pursuing a degree in Computer Science.
Although I may not be involved in performing arts at the moment, there are a lot of important things that I have learned through my participation in the theater program. I learned some things about confidence, and a lot about friendships. Theater is a camaraderie, and I guarantee you’ll end up making a lot of great friends. I know I did, and they’re the people that helped me open myself up to new things. They helped me loosen up and relax. They taught me how to be comfortable in my own skin, sometimes by pushing me out of my comfort zone. These types of things are what friends are for, to bring out the best in each other. This was a large part of theater for me in high school. It was my social hub, where I could go to work hard, have fun, and perform with all my friends.
All these things that I learned, I take with me and use every day. These skills are also very useful for getting by and making friends in college. College has been a rollercoaster experience, which still takes me by surprise sometimes. I was able to get used to the lifestyle pretty quickly, though sometimes the workload can be a bit harsh. Depending on where you go, you’ll be able to make it through easily if you set aside the right amount of time for it. Something super important in college is to make a lot of friends; people you can trust and go to for help (academic or personal), or just to have fun with. Make friends with people in your wing - it’s nice to have friends close by. Find people that you share interests with, and also learn new things from people that you don’t. College is all about balancing work and play. So, I guess I’ll end by saying work hard, and try to have fun as often as possible.
SAGE GIBBONS - CLASS OF 2014
One of my favorite moments working with Serena came during the high school's production of South Pacific in 2013. We were running a scene in which several characters were crowded around listening to a radio transmission. It had been a long rehearsal already and Serena told us to just run it quickly. Seizing the chance for comedy, we began running the lines and scene at 10 times the speed, acting as if we were on fast forward. Serena and all of us were laughing the entire time and at the end of the hysterics she was satisfied with the scene saying that if we could do it that fast we could certainly do it slower.
It's a rare professional who can so easily switch from focused instruction to embracing a moment of goofiness without feeling the need to make a point. Serena knows that the director is as much on the stage as the actors, and that sometimes the divide needs to be broken.
I am currently studying Environmental Science and Biology at Binghamton University. My fondest memories of theatre are the moments when I would forget it was just a stage, and instead feel completely transported into the universe we were creating. My advice for students coming into college is to get involved as soon as you can in whatever gets you inspired. The work is much easier that way.