Financial Aid Stories: 2013-2014

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 is GiveNOLA Day, when all charitable donations made through the GiveNOLA website will be used to support The NOCCA Institute’s Financial Aid Program. That program ensures that every young artist accepted into NOCCA can afford the supplies and equipment (like ballet slippers, novels, and leotards) they need to undertake NOCCA’s rigorous training curriculum. The program also funds travel to university auditions and tuition at life-changing summer programs, both of which often lead to college scholarships.

Read some of these amazing stories about the class of 2014, then make plans to pledge your support on May 5 at GiveNOLA.org.

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Luke DiamondLUKE DIAMOND
Drama, Level III
$1,053,672 in scholarship offers earned
Attending: University of Minnesota, Guthrie Theatre BFA Actors Program
NOCCA has freed me artistically by teaching me that – in theatre – there is never a right answer. There is only storytelling. How do I tell this story the best way it can be told? This question lies at the crux of what theatre artists do, and answering it is hard work. The reward: affecting audience members, like an elderly man who tugged me aside after our performance of The Diary of Anne Frank junior year. “I lived next door to the Franks growing up,” he told me. “And tonight, you all recreated the fear and hope of living in that time.” NOCCA has not only equipped me with dramatic skill, but with the ability to impact audiences. I owe my confidence as an artist to this school.

Avery OwingsAVERY OWINGS
Creative Writing, Level III
$676,000 in scholarship offers earned
Attending: Oberlin College
This year I realized that literature isn’t only an art or course of study. Literature is the collection of human experiences; learning to write is learning how to render experience more effectively. Literature, also, is a way of life, a life as committed to vividly feeling daily moments as it is to collecting a range of experiences. I’m leaving NOCCA endowed with both an appreciation of my life as it exists every day and an appetite for new moments and sights.

Chayil JohnsonCHAYIL JOHNSON

Culinary Arts, Level III (Junior)
The most important thing I’ve learned this year at NOCCA is international cuisine. Learning the cuisines from so many other countries is a wonderful experience and often mind-blowing. It has given me a greater respect and knowledge of other cultures: how they live, how they correlate with other diversities, and most specifically how and why they eat what they eat. What I might enjoy the most is seeing how all of these completely different countries can sometimes tie into each other on one common meeting ground to become a new cuisine that’s the best of both cultures. This is something that I’m excited to learn about when I wake up in the morning.

Prinsey WalkerPRINSEY WALKER
Musical Theatre, Level III (Junior)
As I enter my senior year at NOCCA and look back, the most important thing that I have learned is that creativity is a wonderful thing. The most effective art is often produced not by one person, but by a collection of people. After watching my friends grow as intellectual artists, I have seen how we impact the lives of others, while we do what we live to do. We have all developed our own voices, but when we work together, what we create is above and beyond. In the performing arts, our teachers often preach ensemble. NOCCA is one huge ensemble. Each student, teacher and discipline comes together to support one another and to integrate our arts to impact New Orleans.

Zsak PoweZSAK POWE
Media Arts, Level III
$80,000 in scholarship offers earned
Attending: New York University
What NOCCA has taught me the most is the importance of communication. Whether that be with a crew working on a film set, with actors when scheduling, or just letting others know what project you are currently working on. Allowing people to hear your ideas, concepts and plans not only helps when creating a project, but also in networking and getting others involved. Often, we get caught up with activities, plans, promised assignments; we mess up and forget. But instead of focusing on the failure, we address our weaknesses and try to work on them. Becoming professional is not an overnight process, it takes many failures and trials, but when you reach that level, it becomes worth it. Communication is an element that is necessary for all of us.

Knox van HornKNOX VAN HORN
Musical Theatre, Level II (junior)
NOCCA has taught me a lot over the years. I’ve learned all kinds of singing, acting and dancing that I would never learn anywhere else in this city. But NOCCA teaches more than that. I think the most important thing I learned this year is that there is always a place for you, no matter what. I came to NOCCA my freshman year, but was unable to attend my sophomore year because of scheduling with my sending school. I was terrified to come back because I didn’t know who would be in my class. But in many ways it was like I never left. My new class welcomed me immediately, and I felt instantly at home with them. I don’t think there are many other places like NOCCA where you could come in and be accepted immediately, no matter what.

Leonard GalmonLEONARD GALMON
Visual Arts, Level I
$210,000 in scholarship offers earned, including the Ron Brown Scholarship
Attending: Yale University
Before coming to NOCCA art was more or less a hobby, something I enjoyed doing in my free time. I had already taken an art class at my sending high school, but I saw it only as a break from classes. I didn’t have any aspirations then. But entering NOCCA, surrounded by so many talented students and excellent teachers, inspired me to see how far I could take my skills, and I began trying to improve, trying to actually say things through my artwork.

Although I’m nowhere near as good as I would like to be, gratification came when I realized that my peers, the amazing group that I admired and envied, actually respected me as an artist. They liked my artwork and I was happy. I guess the most important things I’ve learned at NOCCA this past year are, first, I have a lot to learn, and second, I have the potential to really become a professional artist.

Jeffery MillerJEFFERY MILLER
Jazz Level IV
$301,642 in scholarship offers
Attending: The Juilliard School
This year at NOCCA I learned that music is truly a part of who I am. With each passing minute, I think of more and more music. I am constantly composing in my head. NOCCA has helped to instill in me an eternal loyalty to my art. Here, surrounded by my classmates and teachers with whom I share an indefatigable love of music, I learned to execute music with utmost care and respect. The pioneers of this music sacrificed so much so that we are even able to play it, so it is only right that I learn it the right way. Learning it the right way helps me love it the right way. And loving the music the right way helps me to love myself since music is such a big part of me.

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