Meet the 2016 Moments That Matter Scholarship Recipients

Jun 16, 2016

Travel Notes

Each year, Bob Rogers Travel assists deserving students by awarding the Moments That Matter Scholarships. We are happy to introduce, and share brief stories about the 2016 recipients.

Nathan Ancheta – Cary-Grove H.S. (IL)

Nathan’s passion for performing is in his blood; both of his parents studied musical theatre and performed professionally before leaving the business to start a family. Performing on the Disney stage is an important step in his journey. “Being on stage is my favorite place to be.” As the only freshman in his school’s Swing Choir, Nathan’s desire to travel with his peers serves another purpose. “I also know the time we’ll spend together in Florida will help build new friendships.”

Sarah Fantinel – District 99 Honors Band (IL)

Learning of her district band’s quadrennial trip to Europe redoubled Sarah’s interest in her studies five years ago. She practiced, requested challenges from her music teachers and even enrolled in AP European History to prepare for her future trip. Sarah is excited to embark on her journey. “Travel reminds me that while people have different customs, we are all similar at heart.”

Ian Hamilton – Nauset Regional H.S. (MA)

Born into a family with strong Irish and Scottish heritage, Ian fondly recalls the traditional Irish idioms and songs of his childhood. Now he is excited to experience Irish culture at its source. “I myself am a singer, and would very much like to go to Ireland with school so that I could sing with them in some of the most acoustically unique cathedrals of Earth.”

Katelyn Kluver – Harlan Community H.S. (IA)

Katelyn’s inspiration for becoming a music educator stems, in part, from the influence of her teachers. “Every day I see how much fun my vocal teacher has when she is teaching me and my peers about our voices and other music fundamentals. The joy I experience when I sing is amazing, and I would love to teach others so they can feel the same way.” Her upcoming trip to New York City is an opportunity to expand her knowledge.

Tommy McDermed – Wilmette J.H.S. (IL)

Tommy’s excitement for performance is influenced by his older brothers, both of whom play instruments. “I have a brother who plays the bass in the New Trier Jazz Band and the Orchestra, and I want to be just like him.” His upcoming trip to Cleveland and Sandusky brings more than a performance opportunity, though. “This trip would give me [the] great experience of performing with new people, and would allow me to go on my first roller coaster.”

Shelby McSwords – Marysville H.S. (OH)

Watching the Tony Awards in 2013 ignited Shelby’s passion for The Big Apple, when the words of a celebrity struck a chord. “Neil Patrick Harris said…’There’s a kid in the middle of nowhere who is sitting there living for Tony performances…I promise you all of us up here tonight, we were that kid.’ With that statement my dreams no longer seemed unattainable.” Shelby will soon learn whether New York City is the right place for her to pursue her dream of being a theatre performer.

Grace Meyer – Avon Lake H.S. (OH)

Grace’s dreams of spending her life in New York City are often met with criticism. “When I tell others that’s where I hope to live someday, I’m told. ‘that’s crazy!’” Grace looks forward to experiencing her first Broadway shows and interacting with musical theatre professionals on her upcoming journey. “Experiencing these musicals and workshops could help me understand what it would really be like to be an actress. Understanding this could help me come to terms on how I want to live my life.”

Justice Miller – Millikin University (IL)

When her family’s financial situation prevented them from traveling, Justice discovered a new way to travel: by reading. “J.K. Rowling transported me to another place. I found myself riding broomsticks and playing quidditch with Harry…” Her upcoming trip to London and Orlando affords her the opportunity to see the world of Harry Potter in person, but the trip serves a dual purpose. “…the experiences I will be gaining from this trip will help me find new ways to communicate and open my mind even more to new people and cultures.”

Anthony Romano – Kaneland H.S. (IL)

For Anthony, the lure of New York City is rooted in his love of Jazz. “The bright lights and busy city are great, but one of the primary reasons for my heart being set on visiting is the incredible presence of Jazz and the culture that surrounds it.” The immersion in Jazz which Anthony will enjoy on his upcoming trip serves another purpose: preparing him to further his study of Jazz this coming fall.

Zack Roth – Nauset Regional H.S. (MA)

Images of Ireland fill Zack’s imagination as he anticipates his upcoming trip. “I look forward to broadening my musical and cultural horizons on this trip, along with having fun with friends and sharing our musical performances…” The son of parents who met in their high school band, Zack is grateful for the opportunity to be the first in his family to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Isabel Saville – Marshall H.S. (MI)

Juggling marching band, extracurricular clubs, two sports, and community theatre makes funding her own enrollment for her band’s upcoming trip difficult, but Isabel is up to the challenge. “I feel that by going [on the trip], I would benefit significantly both as a musician and a person.” In her experiences at the Walt Disney World® Resort, Isabel looks forward to performing in a new environment, honing her sight reading skills and working with a new clinician.

Andrea Serna – Rolling Meadows H.S. (IL)

Andrea’s interest in music-making began with pots and pans, then viola. Her passion was ignited when her grandma taught her how to play guitar. “[Grandma] showed me how to play endless renditions of Mexican cumbias, bachatas, and nortenas; I fell in love with my culture.” A multi-instrumentalist, Andrea hopes to discover people who share similar passions on her upcoming trip to New York City.

Rachel Shults – Plainfield South H.S. (IL)

The influence of music and her choir teacher has become therapeutic for Rachel as she battles Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. “Participating in choir has helped me become stronger. I have gained confidence in myself and like myself enough to be myself.” Rachel looks forward to discovering new life lessons as she experiences the Walt Disney World® Resort with her peers.

Mirabelle Vezina – St. Croix Falls H.S. (WI)

Growing up with three siblings, Mirabelle recalls fondly her family’s local canoeing and camping trips. With help from her scholarship, Mirabelle looks forward to experiencing an unfamiliar culture. “In Puerto Rico there is something to learn and experience around every corner.” Trying new foods, exploring new lands and sharing in musical exchanges with peers tops the to-do list for her upcoming journey.

Brittany Walsh – Millikin University (IL)

For Brittany, the opportunity to study in another country is all about expanding horizons and stimulating her imagination. “The places I have read about in my classes will come to life before my eyes and bring about a new appreciation for my studies.” Brittany looks forward to the opportunity to travel abroad with her peers. “Each and every person should experience another country at some point in his or her life, and now is the time for me to do so.”


Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Moments That Matter Scholarships. Learn more, and nominate a deserving member of your ensemble.

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