Scholarship Spotlight – Shola Ojesina

Scholarship Received: 2009
High School: Carver Magnet High School of Engineering, Applied Technology, and the Arts High School Graduation: May 2015
Artistic Role Models: Meryl Street, Viola Davis, Denzel Washington& Samuel L. Jackson


Shola Ojesina, 18, was recently awarded a performing arts scholarship from The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Partners Fine Arts Scholarship Program for her impressive talent and passion for theatre arts. Shola is ecstatic to apply the funds toward her new life in New York, where she will attend the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Film, and Television for the next two years. She is excited about the opportunity to marry her passion for performance with an education that caters to artists just like her.
Before this dream could become a reality, Shola was faced with a nerve-wracking audition. Applicants for the Pavilion Partners scholarship are required to perform two pieces of their choosing as well as submit a piece of creative writing. Shola chose to “diversify [herself] as a complete artist” by performing both a comedic and a dramatic piece, leaving the judges captivated by her adaptability and wide breadth of talent. “I think it was my exuberant audition that stood out among other applicants,” Shola speculated. “It allowed me to showcase not only my talent for performance, but also my confidence as an artist.” The creative writing aspect of The Pavilion’s application is unique among similar performance art scholarships, calling students to expand upon their existing talents within fine arts. Shola enjoyed the challenge of expressing herself through this unfamiliar medium.
The appeal of attending the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Film, and Television lies in more than the scholastic for Shola. The location—New York City—is ideal for Shola because it will allow her to immerse herself in “the culture of performing arts and avoid distractions” with like-minded, passionate students. She is already planning her second year at the Conservatory: looking forward to completing a professional internship with one of the major television networks based in New York. Aided by the abundant connections this internship can provide, Shola intends to make a name for herself in film, television, and stage productions to continue to diversify her talents and challenge herself. She also considers continuing her education at Juilliard following her time at the Conservatory.
Shola’s love for performance began at a young age. At six years old, Shola’s eyes were opened to the world of performing arts within the walls of her church. Upon witnessing a dramatic religious performance, she instantly turned to her mother and exclaimed “I want to do that!” And, unlike the impulses of most six-year-olds, this one stuck. She grew in her talent and passion for performing by reciting scriptures for dramatic interpretation and participating in skits at that very same church, and eventually starring as Lucy in a local production of Charlie Brown. Now, Shola sees her role in performance art as “a vessel between the character and the audience. It is an opportunity to share someone else’s story while you look past your own experiences to become the character.”
“God has predetermined my path,” Shola confided. She is a spiritual person, and humbly recognizes that she would have nothing without God. “I am thankful that He has blessed me enough to pursue my dream of performing as an artist.”
To anyone passionate about fine arts and contemplating applying for this scholarship, Shola’s advice is simply to “do it!”—she laughed as she referenced the newly viral Shia LaBeouf motivational rant. But, all joking aside, this is precisely the kind of enthusiasm that is necessary for this industry. “They can’t deny if you don’t apply,” she said in her everlastingly cheery voice. Shola hopes future applicants will put themselves out there when auditioning, as that proved to be most successful for her.


Fine arts are an essential part of life for Shola. She is certain that performers and audiences can connect on more than a superficial level through the medium of theater, and intends to create emotional experiences with future audiences in her very promising career. Because of this scholarship, Shola Ojesina is one step closer to accomplishing her dreams.