The Plaza Theatre, a historic and cultural landmark on Monterey Square in Wharton, proudly announces Dante Hancock and Benjamin Wandell as the recipients of this year’s Plaza Theatre Scholarship in memory of Mrs. Jeanene D. Merka.

The Plaza Theatre Scholarship is designed to support and encourage higher education in theatre and performing arts. The theatre is honored to award these scholarships, each amounting to $500, to two exceptional students showing a strong commitment and enthusiasm for the performing arts.

Dante Hancock, an East Bernard High School graduate, demonstrated dedication to theatre arts through his active participation in band and his leadership as the captain of the debate team. In his application, Hancock expressed his passion for acting, wanting to “bring joy and entertainment to the public” and “come up with new ways to play a character and bring their words to life.” Hancock plans to continue his education at Wharton County Junior College, pursuing a degree in Theatre Arts.

Benjamin Wandell, another accomplished student, has shown considerable growth as an actor. With honors and AP coursework, multiple awards in band, and recently playing the role of “Brick” in the Plaza Theatre’s production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Wandell has showcased his commitment to honing his craft. This fall, Wandell will attend Sam Houston State University to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre.

“Our scholarship program is our commitment to fostering the next generation of theatre and performing arts professionals,” said Russell Kacer, the Plaza Theatre’s VP of Communications. “Both Dante and Benjamin have shown dedication and passion for their craft, and we look forward to seeing the great things they’ll achieve in the future. We’re proud to support their journeys.”

The Plaza Theatre remains committed to nurturing talent in the community, whether through scholarships or the internship program. For more information or to contribute to future scholarship funds, please contact The Plaza Theatre at 979-282-2226.

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About The Plaza Theatre, Inc.

The Plaza Theatre maintains a regional, iconic performance space as a home for live plays, concerts, special events as well as a gathering place to build stronger communities connected by the inspiration found in the performing arts. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, they are committed to ensuring easy, affordable access to cultural and artistic events. The Plaza Theatre bridges Wharton and its surrounding communities by celebrating the region’s rich, diverse history and welcoming everyone across the region to their unique family of individuals who find inspiration in artistic endeavors.