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Scholarship boost for WAAPA's first Aboriginal Musical Theatre student

Friday, 23 June 2017

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WAAPA’s first Aboriginal Musical Theatre student has an impressive list of personal achievements. The latest one might just help him achieve his dreams.

Jarrod Draper is the recipient of the 2017 Edith Cowan University (ECU) Vice-Chancellor’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Scholarship, worth $2,500 per semester until the completion of his degree.

He is a Wiradjuri man from central New South Wales and is currently in the second year of a Musical Theatre course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

At 15 years of age Jarrod moved away from home to attend boarding school where his talents shone on and off the stage. He attracted lead roles in the school productions, won several theatre awards, sung solo at the Empire State Building and scored 100 per cent in Music in his HSC.

He also represented his school and town at state level in swimming, rugby, touch football, basketball and soccer.

However, despite this impressive list of personal achievements Jarrod said there’s another one he’s most proud of.

“Being the first Indigenous man to be accepted into the Musical Theatre course at WAAPA is my biggest personal achievement,” he said.

Following dreams and paving the way

Jarrod said studying at WAAPA was not only a dream come true for him but could also have a positive impact for others who want to make a career in their own chosen field.

“I have always been encouraged by my parents to follow my dreams and be proud of my Indigenous heritage.

“Encouraging and promoting education within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is important because education creates empowerment. Education makes us all equal and opens up unbelievable and achievable opportunities, such as attending WAAPA,” Jarrod said.

Reaching goals

Jarrod wants to be the best at his craft and to do this he needs to stay fit, focused and healthy and that’s where he said his scholarship will help.

“The scholarship will assist me financially and relieve some of the pressure associated with the demands of Musical Theatre,” he said.

“I have goals of performing on Broadway and with the skills and training I’ll acquire at WAAPA, plus my own hard work, determination and dedication I have no doubt I can achieve them.

“When you’re doing something you love it just seems to make sense and come with ease.”

Selection for the ECU Vice-Chancellor’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Scholarship is based on academic merit and demonstrated leadership and contribution to the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community.

Jarrod will receive his scholarship at a flag raising ceremony at the Mount Lawley Campus on Monday, 3 July to mark the beginning of ECU’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

ECU NAIDOC Week activities include the Celebration of Indigenous Art and Culture Exhibition in the Kurongkurl Katitjin Gallery, Mount Lawley Campus. Screenings of the short film Talking Language with Ernie Dingo and flag raising ceremonies on all campuses.

ECU is a leader in finding ways for people to get into university. We welcome Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islanders to enquire about becoming ECU students. Visit our Indigenous studies webpage or our scholarships webpage for more information about scholarships.

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