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Scholarship Winners!

May 12, 2016

#Education and School Days

You may now about the TRF School Days- two days on which we are open only to school groups to come enjoy the faire, learn about history, and perform music and theatre pieces or showcase their art and writing, or fire their trebuchets.

But did you know that TRF also offers four scholarships to graduating seniors? We love education, and we love having the chance to support young adults who are pursuing higher education.

Here, with a little help from Love Advertising and our press releases, is your chance to know a little bit about the 2016 scholarship winners:

TRF Participant Leo Perez, a senior at Cypress Woods High School and former employee at the Festival during the 2015 season, was awarded $1,500 towards his film and media degree at University of Utah. With a passion for story telling that started at a young age, Perez loves developing characters, weaving plots and telling them in every possible way-some were books, homemade movies featuring his mom and sister and more recently, his stories have come to life within Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. After realizing that video games were the most immersive form of storytelling for him, Perez decided to pursue a career in video game design. "[Video games] take text, audio, visuals and first person narratives and fuse them together to construct a game, which allows you to vicariously live the life of a hero," Perez wrote in his application essay. "My goal, after attending the University of Utah, is to secure a job as a 3D modeler and then finally work my way up to my dream job as a game designer."Along with academics, Perez serves as president and founder of the Live Action Role Playing Club (L.A.R.P) and Pathfinder Club at his high school. Perez has also participated in two iD Tech Camps to learn more about 3D modeling and animation and designing role-playing games. "We are so impressed with Leo Perez and his eagerness to pursue a career he is truly passionate about," Kim Bryant, School Days coordinator for the Texas Renaissance Festival, says. "At the Texas Renaissance Festival, we encourage everyone to immerse themselves in the Renaissance period and we are thrilled that Leo shares passion for creativity and story-telling in his games."

Fine Arts winner Natalie Brennan, a senior at Anderson High School, was awarded $1,500 towards her education at University of Texas-Austin. With the support and encouragement of her parents, Brennan grew up participating in school choirs and taking piano lessons. In high school, however, her passion for voice and piano performance was elevated because of the guidance and enthusiasm of her choir director Karla Cruz. Brennan is in a highly selective nine person 'madrigal' choir, participates in musical productions and receives high honors at voice competitions including the Texas Renaissance Festival School Days contest. She hopes to establish a career performing for audiences around the world to share her appreciation of music with others."It is fair to say that Natalie is one of the top, if not the top music student in our choir, and possibly our fine arts department," Cruz said in a letter of recommendation. "In my opinion, Natalie is the kind of person we need more of in our communities. It is indeed a privilege to be able to work with her every day." Beyond music, Brennan serves as co-captain of her school's cross country, is a current candidate for the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program and spends time volunteering with her church youth group. "We are so impressed with Natalie Brennan and her passion for performance as well as her academic success," Kim Bryant, School Days coordinator for the Texas Renaissance Festival, says. "Perhaps one day we will see her return to the Festival as a judge for the School Days program, which has been an important part of the Texas Renaissance Festival since 2005."

Education major Ashley Carraway, a senior at Richards High School, was awarded $1,500 towards her education degree at Texas A&M University. Carraway's grandmother and great aunt were teachers who inspired her to pursue a career in education and fulfill her special love for children and for teaching."[My grandmother] teaches [her students] not only how to read and write but how to treat other people with kindness and how to achieve their goals in life," Carraway wrote in her application essay. "My grandmother makes the world a better place one person at a time. I want to do that too."Along with excelling academically, Carraway serves as class president, homecoming queen, president of Richards Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, captain of her volleyball and basketball teams, and is involved in One Act Play, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and her church's Youth Leadership Team."We are so impressed with Ashley Carraway, not only with her academic success but her involvement and leadership in extracurricular activities," Kim Bryant, School Days coordinator for the Texas Renaissance Festival, says. "We are proud to help her pursue her goal of being a teacher . As a 22 year teaching veteran, I strongly believe in the power and importance of teachers, and I am thrilled that we can support Ashley's dreams."

Humanities: Katie James, a senior at Oak Ridge High School, was awarded $1,500 towards her English degree at Texas A&M University. James always loved her English and history classes but it was her AP English IV teacher Larissa Cox who convinced her to pursue a career as a teacher after completing her degree."It's so obvious that [Ms. Cox] has a passion for the English language and loves her job," James wrote in her application essay. "Having her as a role model inspired me to maybe follow in her footsteps because I see some of my love of literature reflected in her."Along with academics, James is involved in her school's newspaper where she was voted as "Best Writer" for the 2014-2015 school year and now serves as the Editor-in-Chief. She also is a member of Drill Team and volunteers as a Youth Advisor for the Montgomery County Historical Commission. "We are so impressed with Katie James and hope this scholarship will help her achieve her goal of being an English teacher," Kim Bryant, School Days coordinator for the Texas Renaissance Festival, says. "We look forward to seeing her future students one day participate in The School Days program, which has been an important part of the Texas Renaissance Festival since 2005."

Candidates for the scholarship were evaluated based on academic achievement, two essays detailing personal goals and influences, service to the community, leadership qualities and accomplishments in their field. The scholarship was available to public, private and homeschool students in the following counties: Harris, Montgomery, Walker, Grimes, Brazos, Washington, Austin, Waller, Burleson, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Chambers, San Jacinto, Jefferson and Liberty. Students who competed in any 2015 School Days Academic or Fine Arts Competition were also welcome to apply. Four winning students were recognized for their excellence and drive to go above and beyond.