MN High School Theater Program is 1 of 50 Nationwide to Receive $10K Grant

The show will go on at Pine Island High School in Pine Island, Minnesota. The home of the Panthers was one of fifty high schools­—and the only one in Minnesota—to rise above a total of 1,000 applicants nationwide and receive a $10,000 grant from NBC to support its theater department.

NBC’s R.I.S.E (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America Project partnered with the Educational Theatre Foundation to provide grants “designed to assist theater programs with production expenses, technical equipment, master classes and other needs,” according to USA Today.

Schools interested in the grant opportunity had to meet certain requirements and submit a video and essay to qualify.

…high schools were required to have a theater program or champion of theater arts on the teaching staff, and a program endangered due to budget constraints. Each school submitted a video about its program and a 500-word essay on why it deserved the money and what would be done with it.

The grants were awarded in sync with NBC’s premiere of Rise, a new drama series about a dedicated teacher who takes over a small-town high school’s lackluster theater department.

I went to a small high school myself, but our theater program was far from ho-hum. Whether I was working behind the scenes or performing on stage, I witnessed the importance of having theater and performing arts in education. As a teacher, I took my students on live theater field trips, giving them an experience they may not have otherwise had or ever thought they would enjoy. It also was an effective way to teach academic content.

Congrats to Pine Island and the 49 other high schools that can continue providing students with theater education, and thanks to NBC, for encouraging students to use their creative young minds “to reach higher, go further—and RISE.”