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JRAY Scholarships 


The Jan & Griff Duncan FCLO Scholarship:


In 1971, Jan & Griff founded FCLO to bring live theatre to the community and to provide a place of inclusion and extended “Theatre family” to performers and stage technicians alike. In the Jan & Griff Duncan FCLO scholarship recipients, we seek those individuals who are performers or crew members that bring dedication, commitment, and an appreciation for the sheer joy of creating live theatre. That’s what Jan & Griff did for over 5 decades, and that is the legacy that lives on in these talented young students.

2023 Winners:

  • Sarah Hall (Laguna Hills High School)

  • Bella Franco (Ramona High School)


The Tim MacDougall Vocal Scholarship is awarded to a singer who stood out in a show as having a voice that reached out and caught everyone’s attention. Whether as a lead or a one-line solo in a chorus number, their voice was memorable.

2023 Winner: Leo Athy (Los Alamitos High School)

Job Shadow Experience: A Day in the Studio with Music Producer/Arranger/Songwriter, Scott Erickson of Erickson Entertainment.x2

Two students will be selected to spend a day on the job with Grammy nominated music producer/arranger/songwriter, Scott Erickson. They will gain an understanding of just what it means to wear “several hats” in the music industry, while hanging out inside his Los Angeles-based studio. Have your questions ready to pick his brain, as he is a fountain of music industry knowledge (both technically and musically speaking). Scott has produced top recording artists, such as Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand, composed songs for Disney theme parks, Holland America Cruise Lines, TV Shows, and Commercial Jingles, just to name a few. 

2023 Winners: 

  • Tara Chu (Diamond Bar High School)

  • Johannes Eberhart (Palos Verdes High School)

The Duncan Great Cause Scholarship:

The Duncan Great Cause scholarship is awarded to any outstanding performer or crew member who plans on pursuing a career in theatre arts. Recipients are chosen for their commitment and passion to the performing arts, and it is the founder of the Duncan Great Cause Foundation, Qing Duncan’s fervent hope that someday, these individuals will find themselves in a place of success, and they will remember where they came from, the road they travelled, the people who helped them along the way, and that they will be able to do in kind, and give back to their communities and make the world a better place.

JRAY Scholarship Winner Evan Nowack as Bert in Cap Valley's Mary Poppins.jpg

2023 Winners:

  • Evan Nowack (Pictured Above) -- Capistrano Valley High School

  • Joshua Jun (Pictured to the left) --Palos Verdes High School

The Matthew J. Schwartz Memorial Scholarship:

The Matthew J. Schwartz Memorial Scholarship is named after someone who was one of my absolutely favorite people. Matthew, a long-time judge and JRAY team member, passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, but he left behind a ripple that many of us still feel. He was a kind, creative, generous soul who was always fighting for the underdog, and always reminding us that it takes even the lowliest, unsung member of the crew to pull off a successful show. These awards are given to any member of the crew, technical production team or the orchestra—all things that Matthew loved and did himself. He would approve of your recognition, and the implicit understanding that you don’t always have to be the star on the stage to be a musical theatre hero.  This year we have 4 deserving recipients.

2023 Winners:

  • Lavenia Hartojo (Temple City High School)

  • Johannes Eberhart (Palos Verdes High School)

  • Edith Cervantes (Ramona High School)

  • Aidan Cong (Charter Oak High School)

The Vicki Schindele Leadership Scholarship:

Every year in a school’s theatre department, there is at least one student who steps forward and becomes a leader. The selfless, “all-in” role model that does a bit of everything, and this person becomes that invaluable assistant to the drama teacher—the one that is always there. That one that can be depended on. The Vicki Schindele Leadership scholarship is named after one of JRAYs founders and our long-time award show director. In Vicki, you have a person whose trademarks characteristics are generosity, dependability, and the uncanny ability to employ multiple skill sets and get the job done. This scholarship recipient embodies those qualities, too.

2023 Winner: Eva Lopez Quintana (Redondo Union High School)

Michele Leighton Memorial Scholarship:

The Michele Leighton Scholarship is given out every year to one student who is either a stage manager or a key member of the production team. Michele Leighton was one of the founders and the original JRAY Program Director. She also passed away, unexpectedly, just a few years ago, and she is sorely missed. But she would be absolutely delighted to shine a little light on those individuals who do so much behind the scenes. With this scholarship, we honor her memory, but we also provide just a little bit of help to one person who just might make a difference in Theatre Arts not so far down the road from now.

2023 Winner: Tara Chu (Diamond Bar High School)

The JRAY/Open Dawes Scenic Artist

Apprenticeship Program

Jason Dawes, founder and lead production designer for Open Dawes Inc, is teaming up with JRAY to offer an opportunity for aspiring art directors and production designers. Jason has recently been working as the production designer for several television commercials. He also has experience building sets as production designer, art director and art coordinator for studio films. 

JRAY is delighted to bring this unique opportunity to participating JRAY students who want to pursue careers in set building, scenic art work, and/or production design. The winners of this award will be able to participate in the following:

  • Work on site in the film and television industry. This is an opportunity for one or more students to join Jason’s team as an art department production assistant.

  • Shadow Jason on the job and learn the ins and outs of the professional Tv and film production industry, with an emphasis on art direction for TV commercials.

  • Get hired for a job and earn the starting industry rate.

  • Build your portfolio with valuable experience and on-the-job training.

  • Work in a fun, professional environment that is the perfect building step to start your career.

2023 Winners: 

  • Vera Wang (Diamond Bar High School)

  • Ashley Huang (El Dorado High School


Jan and Griff Duncan Memorial Scholarship - $1000


In 1971, Jan and Griff Duncan founded Fullerton Civic Light Opera (FCLO) to bring live theatre to the cultural landscape of Southern California.  From humble beginnings, FCLO rose in prestige as one of the top regional theatres in the country, employing thousands of professional actors, technicians and directors, and designers.  For over forty years they created a place of inclusion and “extended family” to performers, industry professional, and stage technicians, alike.  The John Raitt Awards for Youth (JRAY) was named after their dear friend and Broadway legend John Raitt, a Fullerton native.  In the Jan and Griff Duncan Memorial Scholarship, we seek those individuals who are performers, design, or technical individuals who are altruistic in their gifts, bringing dedication, commitment and appreciation for the sheer joy of creating live theatre.  JRAY is a 501©3 operating under the umbrella of Fullerton Civic Light Opera.


Nathaniel Baesel

Fullerton Union High School Class of 2022/ Matilda, The Musical “Agatha Trunchbull”


“Nathaniel is a thoughtful, humble, personable, and driven individual who

continuously supports his peers no matter the task. Without fail, Nathaniel has demonstrated his ability to be an artist, leader, and a scholar. Nathaniel is a director’s dream!”

Michael J. Despars, M.A.

Drama Teacher/Director

Fullerton Union High School

Lincoln Melcher

John Burroughs High School Class of 2022/ Into the Woods “The Baker”


“Lincoln’s process remains consistent. He draws upon his own insights and intuition to create nuanced performances, full of humor, subtlety, and emotion. Lincoln uses the moments he has to review lines and staging or perfect his delivery because he cares about being the best he can be when he takes the stage. But what I really want to emphasize is the kind, genuine, compassionate and empathetic human being he is.”

Guy A. Myers

Drama Teacher/Director

John Burroughs High School

On behalf of JRAY, Nathaniel and Lincoln, exemplify all that goes into being gifted, kind, compassionate people and it shows in everything they do.  We are proud to award Nathaniel and Lincoln scholarships named after our founders, Jan and Griff Duncan.

The Duncan Great Cause Scholarship - $1000

The Duncan Great Cause Scholarship is awarded to any outstanding performer, artistic designer, or crew member who has hopes of pursuing a career in theatre arts.  Recipients are chosen for their commitment and passion to the performing arts, and it is the Foundation’s fervent hope that someday, these individuals will find themselves in a place of success; that they will remember where they came from, the road they travelled, the people who helped them along the way, and that they will be able to do in kind, and give it back to their communities to help make the world a better place. 


Jasmina Guerra 

Redondo Union High School Class of 2022/Mamma Mia! “Donna”


“Audacious. Inquisitive. Daring. These three words first come to mind when I think of

Jasmina’s character and her endearing personality. She is the definition of a complete package; talented, poised, professional, and ready to take on any task or challenge that comes her way.”

Melissa Staab

Theatre Arts Director

Redondo Union High School

Not only did Jasmina receive a JRAY Awards trophy for 2022 “Best Actress in a Leading Comedic Role”, JRAY also recognizes Jasmina’s compassion, heart and dedication to others.  JRAY wishes you great success as you attend The University of Chicago.


Shayne Gray

Laguna Hills High School Class of 2022/ The Addams Family “The Moon”


“My dream is to be able to earn enough money to help teach younger children how to Dance, teaching free classes for any young dancers who cannot afford to take private lessons. Dance has brought so much happiness into my life; all I want to do is give back to the community that taught me so much.”


“Shayne completed the International Baccalaureate Theatre Arts Higher Level requirements to achieve her IB diploma. Her work was mostly done independently, and the work she produced was truly impressive. Her solo performance for IB moved me to tears!”

Susan Lord

Theatre Educator, Director, VAPA Chair

Laguna Hills High School

JRAY recognizes Shayne’s commitment to the International Baccalaureate Theater Arts Higher Level to achieve her IB diploma, and recognizes her dedication to her GPA.  Just as important is  Shayne’s altruistic desire to focus on those who may benefit mentally and physically through dance. JRAY wishes you the best as you continue your education at University of California, Irvine.

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