By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Four students who are entering high school in September and who dream of performing onstage have been given a boost, thanks to Narrows Community Theater (NCT), which has awarded them scholarships.
NCT announced this week that the 2014 Betty Kash Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Ilana Iskhakova, Vincent Nastri, Caitlyn Schmidt and Andrew Ziska. The students submitted essays describing their love of the theater.
The award is presented in honor of Betty Kash, a longtime member of NCT who died two years ago. Kash loved working with kids, according to members of the Bay Ridge-based theater company, who said she had a boundless energy and a bubbly personality that drew young people to her like a magnet.
The scholarships will be presented at NCT’s general meeting Thursday, on June 5, at the Shore Hill Community Room, 9000 Shore Road, at 8 p.m.
Ilana Iskhakova attends PS 180, also known as SEEALL Academy, in Borough Park. Her essay epitomized her passion for all things theater – acting, dancing and singing – which she has been pursuing in earnest since the age of eight. Ilana will attend Fort Hamilton High School in the fall and said she plans to "keep exploring my theatrical passion and bring it to wherever my heart takes me."
Vincent Nastri is an eighth grader at Leif Ericson Day School and has been performing since the fourth grade. While his early theater experience was at Leif Ericson, in 2013 he ventured out and tackled featured roles in productions at Narrows Community Theater and at Fontbonne Hall Academy where his "love for acting skyrocketed!" Vincent will enter New Dorp High School where he plans to join their drama group.
Caitlyn Schmidt is a student at Saint Patrick Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge where she defines each theater experience as "great because of the talent of each and every cast member." While her personal favorite was playing the role of “Ariel” in "The Little Mermaid," Caitlyn said that any time she is on stage makes her realize that "being on stage is what I was meant to do." Caitlyn will be pursuing her passion for theater at Fontbonne Hall Academy in the fall.
Andrew Ziska attends Christ McAuliffe Intermediate School in Dyker Heights. His passion is playing the trumpet. He said his greatest experience was in the seventh grade when his band teacher chose his band over two other bands to play at a graduation ceremony. Andrew realized through this experience the important role that the band played in "setting the mood and tone for this happy occasion." Andrew will be pursing his musical studies at LaGuardia High School in Manhattan in the fall.