Graham a ‘rising star’

tporter@lsjournal.comMay 17, 2013 

  • 23 The day in May that recent Lee’s Summit North High School graduate Patrick Graham will learn if he is the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship for his role in a school musical.

Patrick Graham had quite a senior year at Lee’s Summit North High School.

Graham’s last go-around at the school, which officially ended May 13 as Graham joined 503 other North seniors at graduation, went something similar to this: In November he was named all-district at the Kansas City All-District Music Contest, while December brought on an all-state choir designation for bass as well as being named the Optimist student of the month for outstanding scholarship and citizenship.

Graham was presented in March with the first ever “Knight Award,” a $2,000 college scholarship awarded by the Metheny Music Foundation.

The following month, Graham was one of four high school seniors who received a $1,000 scholarship from the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee. The scholarship was based on Graham’s ‘strong work ethic, a commitment to community involvement and an endless pursuit of continued growth and improvement in all facets of life.’

Also in April, it was announced that Graham was among several North choral music students who received “1” ratings on solos in a Kansas City-area district music festival contest.

Earlier this month (May 2), during Starlight Theatre’s 11th annual Blue Star Awards, Graham was nominated for outstanding actor in a lead role for his starring spot in North’s production of the musical “Sweeney Todd,” and was also named one of five male finalists for a Rising Star scholarship.

Perks for winning outstanding performance by an actor in a lead role include an all expenses paid-trip June 30-July 2 to New York City to compete in the fifth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards. The program will feature 62 of the country’s most accomplished musical theater students.

The Rising Star scholarship is worth $2,500 and will be presented May 23.

“It’s definitely a huge honor,” Graham said of the Rising Star nomination. “I really spent a lot of time my senior year applying for scholarships. This is definitely the biggest one I have applied for, so it will definitely help go toward paying for college next year.”

The departing senior will spend his summer working at Poppy’s Ice Cream in downtown Lee’s Summit and for five weeks will work at a Christian theater group’s summer day camp.

“When I was young I was involved in community theater; especially with CYT – Christian Youth Theater,” Graham said. “I did that from about the time I was 10-years-old until I was in high school. Since music and theater has always been something I’m passionate about, I’m really excited about the opportunity to be able to teach kids younger than me about what I’ve learned and maybe impart some of my passion on them.

“My first experience with theater was with the CYT day camps. So now, it’s really cool to kind of come full circle going back and working on the staff there and maybe trying to get some younger kids inspired like I was inspired.”

Graham, the son of Lori – an educator – and Gene Graham, was involved in numerous leadership positions at North, including National Honor Society (president), student senate (treasurer), youth in government (Speaker of the House) and Missouri Boys State, in addition to theater and choir.

Graham plans to attend college at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he will pursue interests in the music field and strategic communications.

He has been accepted into both MU’s music program and its school of journalism.

“I may do journalism with a music minor just because I’ve gotten some scholarship money through the music school if I stay enrolled all four years,” Graham said. “That’s the plan right now, but that could be subject to change. If I do journalism, I’ll probably do strategic communications and use that to do some sort of public relations work. I’ve always been interested in politics, so maybe working communications in some sort of office, whether in Jefferson City or Washington, D.C.”

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