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Hernando Performing Arts Guild awards scholarships

Tribune staff

Published:   |   Updated: April 14, 2014 at 04:18 PM

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Six Hernando County high school seniors recently received scholarships from the Hernando Performing Arts Guild to pursue their college education in the performing arts.

"All of the students who were selected were academically, socially, and community minded people," said Louise Allen, scholarship chairman for Hernando Performing Arts Guild. "They all achieved high grade scores. They were very well socially integrated and very involved with their schools, churches, and local theaters. They all plan on pursuing careers in theatre arts or teaching art."

Scholarships were awarded to Christian Braz, Nicole Cannon, Laura Bennett, Erlin Vega, Colin Brooks, and Jessi Poole.

"I personally loved being a part of the scholarship committee and getting to know these students who are so determined to follow their dreams for the future," Allen said. "I am proud to be a part of the guild and our commitment to the arts in Hernando County."

Christian Braz was the top recipient for the Rosemary Raymond Scholarship.

"Chris has won the International Thespian Award, the only winner in Hernando County," said Vera Bystry-Wells, Hernando Performing Arts Guild publicist and board member.

Braz, a senior at Weeki Wachee High School, will attend Southeastern University in Lakeland. He plans to study theatre and music.

Cannon, a Springstead High School senior, will attend the University of Florida and plans to major in acting.

"Nicole has appeared in many Stage West productions and is an actress, singer and dancer," said Bystry-Wells.

Bennett, a senior from Weeki Wachee High School, has been accepted to Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida. She will study acting.

"Laura has won many awards for her grades, singing, and acting," said Bystry-Wells.

Vega, is a Hernando High School senior, who will attend the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. She will study motion picture and television production in the field of filming, Bystry-Wells said.

Brooks, a Weeki Wachee High School senior, will attend the University of Central Florida where he will study theatre arts and creative writing.

"Colin wants to be a professional actor and become a published writer of teen fiction," said Bystry-Wells.

Poole, a senior from Hernando High School, plans to first attend Pasco-Hernando State College, and then transfer to a university to study fine arts and illustration.

"Jessi has won awards at Hernando's Art in the Park and in the National Arts Program. She plans on becoming an art teacher," said Bystry-Wells.

The Hernando Performing Arts Guild showcases entertainers, singers, and comedians, and uses the proceeds from their shows to provide scholarships to Hernando County high school seniors who wish to pursue their education in the performing arts.

Each show is performed at the Hernando Performing Arts Center at Hernando High School, 700 Bell Ave., in Brooksville, during the school season.

For 2014-2015 season tickets, call (352) 799-5577 or for info on future shows, visit

Hernando Today correspondent Heather Francis can be reached at

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