Bowl-a-thon Saturday to help New Smyrna Beach High kids pay for national drama festival in Nebraska

NSB High School's Troupe 1903Photo for Headline Surfer /
New Smyrna Beach High School's Troupe 1903 needs help from the community in its fundraising efforts to cover the $20,000 expense of participating in is trying to raise money to participate in a big festival next month in Nebraska.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A group of kids -- really good kids -- have a chance to showcase their talents, but they can't do it without help from the community that hungers for feel-good stories in a fast-paced world where teenagers are admired for what they can do on the football field or on the other extreme, getting into trouble.

The only thing standing in the way of a talented bunch at New Smyrna Beach High School from having a national spotlight shining on them and greater New Smyrna Beach is money -- $20,000. Earlier this spring, the unimaginable happened: New Smyrna Beach High School’s Troupe 1903 of the International Thespian Society and its one-act play, “Emotional Baggage” by Lindsay Price, was selected to be a part of the International Thespian Festival 2012 in Lincoln, Neb.

Michael Drews, whose daughter, Cheyenne, is among these talented group of drama participants, is doing his part with a bowl-a-thon Saturday. People can sponsor him in three games either by the number of pins he knocks down or by making a flat donation.

"This is a once-in-a lifetime chance for these kids in drama to go to the international Thespian festival, the proud parent said. "It is the highest award for drama to get."

As for fears that Drews might wrack up too many pins in his bowl-a-thon, he said, "I (stink) at bowling so it will not cost much."

Michael DrewsAs for fears that Drews might wrack up too many pins in his bowl-a-thon, he said, "I (stink) at bowling so it will not cost much."

In addition to performing their play, the students in the NSB High troupe have been asked to offer workshops in masked theatre to the participants at the festival.

"This is an honor that has never been bestowed upon drama students at our school before, or anyone in the district for that matter," said Kendra Blazi, the troupe's drama instructor and director. "We are proud to represent New Smyrna Beach High School, District 3 Thespians, Volusia County and the State of Florida."

While a huge honor, the festival is also quite pricey and the travel to Lincoln no less costly, Blazi said.

"We are asking simply for your support of these students and their theatrical endeavors," she said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone involved and will certainly be life-changing. The total cost of the festival will be somewhere around $20,000, including travel and food."

Any organization donating $500 or more to the cause will be listed in all of next year’s troupe programs as well as the program at the International Festival and on the troupe's T-shirts. Any organization donating $1,000 or more to the cause will also be given a plaque permanently installed in the black box theater of the high school in addition to the above mentioned items.

"Donations of any value will be gratefully accepted and appreciated and honored in the program at the International Festival," Blazi said, adding all donations are tax deductible."

Blazi is asking business owners and others to "please consider giving to this worthy cause and helping to send these students on their way to the International Thespian Festival 2012 this June."

For further information on how you can help or contribute to Satyurday's Bowl-a-thon, please e-mail Kendra Blazi at or you can call her during school hours at daytime hours at 386-424-2555, ext. 38643.