Cape Evening Optimists Connect Area Youth with Performing Arts



May 29, 2007 – The Cape Evening Optimists recently endowed a scholarship for students attending Southeast Missouri State University.

The scholarship, which will be awarded to one student a semester, will assist them in financing their studies at Southeast while also introducing local junior high school students to the performing arts.

The recipients of the scholarships will be required to teach a 75-minute performing arts class once a week during the semester.  The classes will be comprised of local junior high students who are selected by the Optimist Club in conjunction with the local school district.

Each class will provide a unique opportunity for up to 18 specially-selected junior high students to be exposed to the performing arts in a whole new way.  The students will come to Southeast’s River Campus once a week to receive training in dance and musical theatre from the scholarship recipient. 

Ann Wagganer, president of the Cape Evening Optimist Club, proposed the scholarship project, which was approved by a vote of the organization’s members. 

“I believe the new performing arts center the University is building is one of the best things that has ever happened to our community,” Wagganer said. “Our club is thrilled to be able to contribute to a program that is so beneficial for the social, economic and cultural aspects of our area.”

Meeting the needs of young people in communities worldwide, Optimist Clubs have been “bringing out the best in kids” since 1919.  Optimist Clubs conduct positive service projects aimed at providing a helping hand to youth.  Each year, Optimists conduct 65,000 of these projects, serving six million young people.

The scholarship will be awarded to students who are on course to receive a bachelor of fine arts degree in a performing arts field. Recipients must have completed at least 60 hours of coursework, have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 and a GPA of 3.0 in all completed performing arts classes, and attend at least one Optimist meeting each semester.

Photo of Optimists holding a check.The Cape Evening Optimists recently endowed a scholarship for students attending Southeast Missouri State University. SOUTHEAST MISSOURI UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION

A state-assisted institution, Southeast Missouri State University receives only a portion of its funding from state revenue, tuition and auxiliaries. The remainder is raised by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation in the form of private gifts by alumni and friends who believe in bringing students a high-quality education that ensures students experience success in our global society.

Since its founding in 1983, the University Foundation has worked diligently to raise and manage funds for the betterment of Southeast Missouri State University and its students.  The funds support scholarships, financial aid, faculty advancement, technological upgrades and facility improvements.

For more information on the Foundation and ways to support Southeast, visit