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Jennifer Thoma Memorial Ballet Scholarship

Koby Wescom was recently awarded the 2017 Jennifer Thoma Memorialo Ballet Scholarship.   Wescom, age 15, is a Templeton High School freshman who has been dancing since he was ten years old. He will use the award to attend a 6-week summer intensive with the Ballet West Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ultimately, he hopes his training will lead to a career in dance.

“Courage is hard but it is also necessary to improve myself as a dancer,” said Wescom. “I think laying it all on the table for something you love:  the good, the bad, the ugly - all as an outlet for emotion, and also an outlet for life.”

Wescom and his family live in Paso Robles. Since joining the North County Dance & Performing Arts Foundation, he has performed in several productions, including “The Nutcracker,” “Cinderella,” and “Let It Be”.

“We are thrilled by Koby’s passion and dedication to classical ballet. We look forward to a bright future for him as he continues to work hard through his training,” said Bill Thoma, founder of the Jennifer Thoma Memorial Ballet Scholarship.

“We are honored to partner with Bill Thoma through the Jennifer Thoma Memorial Ballet Scholarship  to support our local youth as they reach to achieve their dreams and ambitions,” said Heidi McPherson, CEO of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County.  

Competitors for the scholarship were required to submit an arts resume, an essay, school transcripts, a letter of recommendation and an audition video. Judges for the competition included Bill Thoma, Jessica Thoma, artist Deb Spatafore, Jennifer Thoma’ longtime friend and Cal Poly colleague, Shelly Prichard Landers, and dance instructor Wes Kruckow. The Jennifer Thoma Memorial Ballet Scholarship is administered by The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County who was instrumental in helping establish award criteria as well as manage outreach to potential applicants.

Bill Thoma spoke of his family’s interest in establishing the annual scholarship as a means of keeping Jennifer’s passion for the art of ballet alive. “My wife devoted herself to dance in so many ways,” said Bill. “She attended hundreds of performances, served on dance organization boards of directors, drove our daughter to rehearsals, accompanied her to special training programs, sewed costumes, raised funds and in her spare time, did a little dancing herself. She had such a passion for dance and particularly, ballet. She would be so proud that her dream became reality and honored such deserving young [dancers.]” Thoma added that a number of memorial gifts in his wife’s name helped add to the scholarship funds.

The Jennifer Thoma Memorial Ballet Scholarship is one of forty scholarships awarded this year to local students through The Community Foundation's scholarship program funds. 

For more information about the Jennifer Thoma Memorial Ballet Scholarship or other scholarship funds at The Community Foundation, please contact Angela Hollander, Scholarship Program Associate.

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