Hewleek McKoy is one of 60 students from across the nation that was selected by the Open Jar Institute in New York City for their summer intensive program. McKoy is a senior theatre major at Emporia State.
“When I found out, I was speechless,” McKoy said. “I did not know how to react to this, so I called my mom and we just cheered as loud as we could. I applied at the end of January.”
For five days, McKoy will be working with Broadway professionals to hone his skills as an actor, dancer and singer.
“Hewleek is a talented and deserving guy who worked very hard for this recognition,” said Jim Bartruff, chair of the theater department. “He will make the most of this opportunity, and many people have contributed to help make the trip affordable. I know he is still raising funds, and I hope that many will step up with more support through his GoFundPage page.”
McKoy is currently hosting a GoFundMe to pay for the trip and needs $3,000 to spend the week in New York City, which will cover his tuition for the institute and his housing. Currently, he has raised $1,260, which is less than half of his goal.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Hewleek, as he will be seen by industry folks who could conceivably become valuable contacts as he pursues his career. I am thrilled for him,” said Dennis Turney Jr., assistant professor of theater. “He is a great person and a very talented artist.”
Anyone can donate to McKoy’s fund on gofundme. com/6tj58ug on a donation titled “Support Hewy Going to NYC.”
“This is very exciting to have such a strong platform to push off my acting career,” McKoy said. “As of now, I do plan on going, and I am still fundraising.”
McKoy is the third ESU Theatre student since 2012 to earn the honor, according to Emporia State Marketing and Media Relations.