From SEK to the Silver Screen and Beyond!

With the CFSEK scholarship season upon us, we wanted to highlight the success of a former scholarship recipient emphasizing the benefits of the CFSEK Scholarship Program.

Mean Girls: The Musical made its screen debut in January. Local Pittsburg triple threat performing artist Will Jewett made his big screen debut as a dancer in the recently released movie! Jewett was born and raised in Pittsburg, KS. As a Pittsburg High School 2016 graduate, Will received the Short Fine Arts Scholarship due to many dance classes, award-winning dance competitions, concerts, and musical productions through Pittsburg Community Theatre and PHS Theatre. You might remember Will as the Donkey in Shrek: The Musical or Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls.

After High School

After graduation, Will began summer coursework online at PSU and applied for performing arts jobs. He joined the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line as a Dancer in November 2016 while continuing his fall semester online as a PSU student. Due to unreliable internet connections, work times, and scheduling, Will quickly realized online coursework and cruise ship work were incompatible. He decided to put his formal education on hold. He toured the Caribbean, performing daily for six months. Returning to Pittsburg in May 2017, Will contemplated his next steps while he worked as a barista at Root Coffee House & Creperie. His interests had grown into incorporating his dance skills with musical theatre. A conversation with his former PHS Theatre teacher, Greg Shaw, encouraged Will to pursue auditions to various Musical Theatre programs across the country. A ‘meant to be’ opportunity resulted from those auditions. Will was accepted, one of 12, to the Penn State Musical Theatre Program, one of the finest musical theatre programs in the nation, to begin in August 2017.

As a Penn State student, Will was afforded numerous skill and resume-building opportunities. Summers were spent working at Music Theatre Wichita, gaining additional experience and making connections that have already boosted his career. Graduating in May 2021 with a BFA in Musical Theatre, Will headed to New York, where he lives and works. Will’s performing arts career is far from 9-5, 5 days a week. He finds himself teaching fitness classes, taking dance classes and voice lessons, TV performances, and performing in one-time shows to multi-performance productions in New York and the region. Mean Girls: The Musical came to theaters in January. Will worked on Mean Girls for four months in 2023 and now awaits a one-year touring show contract. Fingers crossed, Will!

Will Jewett poses with a clapboard on the set of the Mean Girls musical.

What Encouragement Can Do!

Will applied specifically for the Short Fine Arts Scholarship because it was an Arts scholarship. He was encouraged by his parents to apply. He encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for scholarship awards. Getting organized and becoming comfortable ‘pitching’ yourself is essential.

A small part of Will’s story started with the Short Fine Arts Scholarship through CFSEK. For many, becoming a performer or entertainer is a dream. “Will shared that receiving the scholarship validated his chance at achieving that dream. It gave him a boost that he could pursue the arts and be successful. “Receiving the Short Fine Arts Scholarship helped me feel validated in pursuing my dreams,” Will said. “I felt like my community was giving me the push I needed!”

See Will in Mean Girls: The Musical! You will be sure to spot him.

CFSEK thanks Will for sharing his story. Break-a-leg, Will!

Scholarship Application

Apply to the CFSEK Scholarship Program. Applications are due by March 31!