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Sarasota Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 1 year ago

Booker High raises the curtain for their students

The first ever the Booker High School Visual Performing Arts Fundraiser takes place on March 9.
by: Amelia Hanks Community Reporter

It can get expensive trying to become a famous actor or artist.

Flights to New York, acting lessons, an agent — it all adds up at a time when little money is coming in.

Students who attend Booker High School’s Visual Performing Arts School are looking for some help with the expensive ventures into the professional and collegiate performing arts world.

 And soon, they might just get it.

Booker High School Principal Rachel Shelley, and VPA coordinator and teacher Rebecca Abrahamson teamed up with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe to host Booker VPA’s first fundraiser March 9 on the roof of WBTT. 

The fundraiser, dubbed a Kaleidoscope of Creativity, and the school wants to raise $50,000 to help sponsor student expenses and trips, to give a few examples.

Booker VPA students will perform live for event guests.

 Students’ visual artwork will also be available for purchase.

Shelley said she’s sorry she didn’t think of a fundraiser sooner as a means to provide financial stability for the program.

“This fundraiser will help our students accomplish the vision by allowing them all of the experiences their families might not be able to offer them,” she said.

The vision of Booker High School, as taken from the school’s website, is: “100 percent of Booker High School students will graduate college- or career-ready, and become productive members of society.”

“We’re just exploring how much we can raise and how the students want to use it,” Abrahamson said. “We have such a diversity in the Booker VPA with students who come down from Tampa and students who are in the area that might not be able to afford the same things.”

Abrahamson herself is a VPA graduate. 

She said when she first started reaching out to donors, she went to the alumni who graduated with her.

“It’s where we have received most of our fundraising from so far,” she said. “VPA gets under your skin. You have no idea what this school means to the students, even years later. When they donate, they always say, ‘You know, I wish I could do more.’”

So far, Abrahamson said the effort has raised around $5,000.

Student Danny Bó Delongaig said a scholarship would go a long way toward expanding his experience.

“I stage-managed a play last year, and it was difficult because we didn’t have the proper technology to all hear each other,” he said.

 “Any amount of money specifically towards our program would help.”

Tickets for Kaleidoscope of Creativity are $100 and available online at or by calling the VPA Box office at 355-2967.


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