Still here: The Robert W. Souza Scholarship for the Performing Arts

| 26 Mar 2018 | 11:35

The committee advises that applications should not be turned in to Guidance, but rather, all completed applications should be mailed to:
Souza Scholarship Committee
c/o Mrs. Ronnee MacDonald
8 Forge Road
Monroe, NY 10950
Completed applications must be postmarked no later than April 6.

By Bob Curtis
— The American dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille once offered: “Theater people are always pining and agonizing because they're afraid that they'll be forgotten. And in America, they're quite right. They will be.”
But Robert W. Souza, the man after whom our scholarship for talented Monroe-Woodbury students is named, has not been forgotten.
$200,000 in scholarshipsAfter his death in 1980, this scholarship was established by his friend and colleague, the late Dick Moomey. Since then, countless theatrical shows (many directed by Moomey) and other special events have been presented in his memory, raising nearly $200,000 for the scholarship fund and benefitting a long and growing list of scholarship recipients.
Bob Souza came to Monroe-Woodbury Middle School in 1966 as an instrumental music teacher and, during 14 years at Monroe-Woodbury, served as stage band director for both secondary schools, music team leader in the Middle School from 1974, and district music coordinator in 1976. Souza arranged and conducted music for numerous district scholarship productions. He also played trumpet and arranged music for the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra. Multiple Grammy-award winner Sturr himself recalled how Souza often brought his students to hear his popular local polka band.
“He’d always have his students with him, sitting right down front,” Sturr said. “He sure cared about those kids.”
The Souza Memorial Scholarships were instituted shortly after Souza's death in 1980, creating scholarships in music and the performing arts not only to seniors, but also to underclassmen from grades six to eleven.
Not-for-profit charityTo administer this scholarship program in perpetuity, the Souza Scholarship for the Performing Arts, Inc. was incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable organization.
The Souza Scholarship Committee grants monetary awards to high school seniors in the form of college tuition payments and grants to younger students are intended to encourage further development in music or the performing arts, including for example, summer music camp, specialized workshops and advanced lessons or training.
Some of the productions presented as fund raisers for the scholarship include "The Sound of Music," "Annie," "Peter Pan," "Oklahoma!," "The Wizard of Oz," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Mr. Dickens Read ‘A Christmas Carol,'" and more recently, "Seussical, the Musical" (2005), "Godspell" (2008), "Brigadoon" (2009), "The Secret Garden" (2010), Phantom Tollbooth Jr. (2012), "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (2013), "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (2014), "Footloose, the Musical" (2015), "Grease" (2016), "Peter Pan" (2017), and this summer, a show yet to be announced.
All of these productions have been enthusiastically supported by Monroe-Woodbury staff and students, who often appear in productions, work backstage, or play in the pit orchestra.
Essential informationTo learn more about the Souza Scholarship, its background, performance history, and record of giving back to M-W students and community, check the Foundation’s website at
To apply for a scholarship using the facilities of the Souza Scholarship web page, follow this link:
Souza Scholarship guidelines and application documents for this year are also available on the M-W District website,
Applications for Souza Scholarships at all levels are due into M-W Guidance departments by Friday, April 6.

Bob Curtis is a longstanding member of the Souza Scholarship Committee.