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Sunriver Stars Community Theater recognizes two student performers with inaugural scholarships

(Update: Adding video, comments by scholarship recipients)

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) – Sunriver Stars Community Theater recently announced the recipients of its inaugural scholarships, Stars Scholars, given to two local high school students, Andrew Whitworth and Samuel Soyster.

The award was officially presented at the SSCT's August board meeting.

“Sunriver Stars was a big start in helping me gain confidence in my acting and most importantly, my singing,” Whitworth said Friday. “Hanging out with all the people there made me feel comfortable and safe within their community.”

Soyster also mentioned that performing theater with Sunriver Stars helped boost his confidence.

"I am a lot more open, and I hold my head higher." he explained.

The mission of Stars Scholars is to reward young students seeking to pursue theater arts who have been active with SSCT, whether in kids’ camp, acting or working behind the scenes as stage hands and crew.

Applicants were required to list the program or school they intended to use the scholarship toward and describe how it would advance their education in theater performance or production skills. 

"I want to go to college for it," Soyster said. "And I'm actually planning on it and signing up for more scholarships so that I can pay off college debt and all that.”.

SSCT has always had a strong a connection to youth, having been founded with the mission of providing quality, family-friendly entertainment and education opportunities for Sunriver and the surrounding communities. Since 2012, SSCT has produced 36 main stage shows, five kids drama camps and several workshops with local schools.

"The idea for a scholarship was born from our Board's discussions about the importance of our children's drama camp and how we could take it to the next level,” said Alan Zalewski, SSCT Director of Development.  “We wanted to encourage students who were interested and had participated in Sunriver Stars productions.”

Soyster and Whitworth, who are homeschooled and close friends, each participated in the Sunriver Stars 2022 production of “Oz” and have served as volunteers for kids programming.

"We ended up being monkeys together, and we’ve been theatre buddies ever since.” Whitworth said.

Both students used the scholarship to help with expenses from their recent trip to the National Fine Arts Festival in Columbus, Ohio, where they joined more than 65,000 junior and senior high school students for a time of learning through evaluations, workshops and interaction with other students.

Additional funds will be used toward their involvement in Ovation Performing Arts’ 2024 production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

“It was an amazing opportunity and great experience,” Whitworth said. “It means so much to me that I was chosen for this scholarship.”

For more information or to support Sunriver Stars, please visit


Sunriver Stars Community Theater, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, is a community-based performing arts organization providing quality, family-friendly entertainment and education opportunities for Sunriver, Oregon and the surrounding communities.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Jillian Fortner

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