bergenPAC knows that just offering classes isn’t enough if it wants to truly deliver on its mission to make live performing arts and arts education more accessible to everyone in the community. The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC established a Scholarship Program several years ago that ensures no child who wants to develop their artistic passions will be turned away because of financial hardship.

“The Scholarship Program has been an AMAZING gift not only for my girls, but also to my whole family,” a parent of scholarship students said. “Dancing has been a big part of my girls’ lives since they were 3. Making the decision to tell them they couldn't dance was truly heart breaking. Our financial difficulties should not be their worries. I was feeling stuck and felt as if I had failed them. The scholarships allowed my girls to still embrace their love of dance.”

Families can apply for need-based and merit scholarships for any program at the school. Since the school opened, more than $380,000 in scholarships have been awarded and counting.

The program is made possible through the generosity of sponsors and individual donors, including The Russell Berrie Foundation, Myron & Elaine Adler Private Foundation, Kay Ritta Scholarship Fund, Robert & Catherine Murray Charitable Trust, Cestone Family Foundation, Stuart and Martha Tell, Rosalie Berlin, Naida S. Wharton Foundation, Norma Wellington, Koryn & Realf Schermer and Lakeland Bank.

The application process is handled discreetly so that the students can feel comfortable as they develop their craft and explore their dreams alongside their classmates. Whether or not the students go on to Broadway or Lincoln Center, they can all reap the benefits that come from studying performing arts.  

“I have had the absolute pleasure of performing in two of the summer musicals and am beyond grateful for the opportunities granted to me,” a recent scholarship student said. “The warm, supportive, and spirited environment amongst the cast and faculty is unmatched. The rehearsal/ performance process is very professional and gives students a clear understanding of how to work in a respectful, committed and healthy manner. Also, we are constantly being motivated to work diligently as an ensemble while also honing in on and nurturing the personal goals we have for ourselves. I am forever thankful to my mentors at bergenPAC who lovingly encourage and lead me to go beyond my own expectations. My growth as a person and as a singer, dancer, and actress through the summers at bergenPAC is something that I will never fathom or take for granted.”

To learn more about the Scholarship Program, visit bergenpac.orgscholarships.