The 2018 Kudzu Playhouse scholarship winners each have already accomplished some impressive achievements, and they have only just graduated from high school. Ireland Little, the Jim Anderson Legacy Scholarship winner, and Riley Young, the Kudzu Playhouse Heritage Scholarship winner, are both 2018 graduates of Hernando High School.
“Both of these winners have a deep-rooted love for theatre and have dedicated much of their youth to helping cultivate the performing arts in our community,” said Daniel Mullins, Kudzu Playhouse Board Member. “Kudzu Playhouse is proud to support both of these talented young people as they pursue their dreams.”
Ireland Little – Jim Anderson Legacy Scholarship Winner
The Jim Anderson Legacy Scholarship Award is dedicated in honor of a longtime supporter of the arts in DeSoto County, and specifically Kudzu Playhouse. The award recognizes a student who understands the importance of maintaining and supporting arts programs in our community and schools and has demonstrated a commitment to preserving and promoting these programs through participation in a variety of live performance activities.
The daughter of Scott and Erin Little, Ireland has exceeded those criteria remarkably. With over 25 performance and crew credits with Kudzu Playhouse alone and over 14 with Hernando High School, her dedication to the arts and arts instruction is overwhelming. Her academic achievements are equally as impressive. Little was named Valedictorian of Hernando High School’s class of 2018. She plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi and major in biological sciences.
“Arts programs in communities and schools have given people the opportunity to find a home away from home,” said Little in her scholarship essay. “They are necessary in the world we live in. People deserve to have a platform to express themselves and their views. Moreover, maybe one day in the near future, another little girl will decide to do a summer camp…and be changed forever.”
Riley Young – Kudzu Playhouse Heritage Scholarship Winner
The Kudzu Playhouse Heritage Scholarship Award recognizes a student whose participation in the arts has affected significant personal growth in areas such as performance skills, technical skills, public speaking, self-confidence, esteem, or an appreciation of literature and the performing arts.
The son of Andy and Heather Young, Riley has surpassed the requirements for this award to an inspiring degree. With over 22 Kudzu Playhouse performance, crew and service credits alone, nine Hernando High School shows, and more than 20 with Panola Playhouse, his career is already quite prolific, and he’s just getting started. Young was recently named Outstanding Lead Actor at the Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards and will be traveling to New York City in June to compete at the national level. He will also portray the title role in Kudzu Playhouse’s summer production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Young’s academic achievements are just as impressive as his theatrical accomplishments. An honor graduate of Hernando High School’s class of 2018, he plans to attend the University of Memphis and major in musical theatre.
“Before beginning theatre nine years ago, I barely recognized that any part of myself was built to perform in any form or fashion,” said Young in his scholarship essay. “Now I know that I wasn’t meant for anything but the stage.”
While the primary criteria for both awards are involvement in Kudzu Playhouse productions, fundraising, and promotion, students are also evaluated on other accomplishments or activities including non-Kudzu theater/performance experience, academic achievement, leadership, and community service.