On March 5th, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) announced that the Nanakuli High & Intermediate School Performing Arts Center will be one of 50 recipients of their R.I.S.E. (Reocgnizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America Grant. Recipients were chosen from 1,000 school applications from across the nation. Each school will receive $10,000 to assist with their theater program production expenses, technical equipment, master classes, and other needs. NBC is partnering with the non-profit Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) on the program. This grant program coincides with the premiere of Rise, a new series (March 13, 10 ET/PT) that revolves around a small-town high-school theater program; Hawaii's own Auli'i Cravalho will be a member of the show's cast.
Jason Katims, also the show’s creator, championed the high schools that will benefit.
“I am excited about the notion that the R.I.S.E. America grants will help support, inspire and nurture creative young minds throughout the country, especially at a time when arts in education is under-valued and under-funded,” Katims said in a statement. “I am blown away by the generosity of NBC and (Entertainment chairman) Bob Greenblatt, along with the efforts of the Educational Theatre Foundation, who have made this all possible.”
To qualify for a grant, high schools were required to have a theater program or champion of theater arts on the teaching staff, and a program endangered due to budget constraints. Each school submitted a video about its program and a 500-word essay on why it deserved the money and what would be done with it.