Two CHS Graduates Awarded Scholarships from the Theater League of Clifton


Photo credit: TLC, Mark Peterson, president of TLC, is pictured with scholarship winners Lukas Kulesa (left) and Liam Reilly, members of the Clifton High School (CHS) Class of 2022. The award ceremony was held at CHS on June 1.

Lukas Kulesa and Liam Reilly, members of the Clifton High School (CHS)  Class of 2022, are the recipients of the annual scholarship awards presented by the Theater League of Clifton. Each student will receive $500 as a gift to continue their college studies.

Mark Peterson, president of the Theater League, coordinated with Jody Springer, CHS central wing school counselor in the scholarship selection process.  Peterson said that one of the Theater League’s primary goals is to encourage students to engage in the arts—a mission that began when the Theater League was founded 17 years ago.

“It gives me great pleasure on the behalf of the Theater League of Clifton to award two deserving students each a scholarship, as they pursue plans to further their education upon  graduation,” Peterson said. “We are proud of their accomplishments and wish them a bright and successful future.”

Kulesa received the Theater League scholarship, while the Theater League’s Joanne Mazzarisi Memorial Scholarship went to Reilly. In 2007, the Theater League, along with the Mazzarisi family, established the memorial scholarship to honor Joanne, a 1974 CHS graduate. She enjoyed a successful stage and movie career, including a recurring role on a daytime soap opera. Tragically, her life and career were cut short in 1997 during a medical procedure while under anesthesia. 

The two CHS students wrote eloquently in their respective scholarship applications to describe their love of music and the importance of the arts in their lives. In addition, both mentioned their goals of becoming music educators. “The thing that has most shaped me as a person is my dedication to improve myself and my abilities,” Kulesa stated. “Ever since I was in elementary school, I would strive to get the best grades I could to be the best I could be. This dedication has also influenced my future career goal, which is to pursue a degree in music education. Sticking with music has always been what I wanted to do. The arts have made an impact in my life... so much so that it has led me to further pursue a career in the field and to dedicate the rest of my life to doing what I love.”

Reilly wrote that his life “has been filled with the joy of music. I started my first instrument of cello at the age of nine. Music not only allows me to express my own emotions, but allows me to connect with others—a special trait that no other subject is able to convey. It allows us to express emotions that are far beyond the reach of the human language. Music is able to tell a story that words fail to even begin to express. Through my own expressed love for music and my want to share it with others, I hope to pass on my own love of music to others through teaching.”

The Theater League of Clifton is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the arts through theatrical performances, while providing quality entertainment for all ages. The Theater League welcomes volunteers in all aspects of performance and production.   Their next performance of the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha is coming up across two weekends in July (15-17 and 22-24) at the Clifton High School auditorium.  Learn more here. 

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