Alumni sis­ters start arts schol­ar­ship for Drey­foos stu­dents

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Western Palm Beach County - - Front Page - By Ky­oto Walker Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post

As a way to honor the legacy of sis­ter­hood and pur­suit of a ca­reer in the arts, Rochelle and An­drew Chang helped es­tab­lish a schol­ar­ship for women of color at Alexan­der W. Drey­foos School of the Arts in con­junc­tion with the School of Arts Foun­da­tion.

Rochelle (Oliver) Chang and her sis­ters all grad­u­ated from the school — Tif­fany Oliver in 1999, Chang in 2002 and Mor­gan Oliver in 2015. Cre­at­ing the schol­ar­ship was a way for them all to give back.

Drey­foos, lo­cated at 501 S. Sapodilla Ave., West Palm Beach, was for­merly named Palm Beach County School of the Arts and School of the Arts (SOA).

Chang, 33, said the Three Sis­ters Schol­ar­ship awards one $1,000 schol­ar­ship an­nu­ally to a woman of color grad­u­at­ing from Drey­foos who will pur­sue a ca­reer in the arts. Ap­pli­ca­tions will be ac­cepted through Fri­day.

Ma r r i e d l a s t O c t o b e r, Rochelle and An­drew de­cided they didn’t want any gifts, but in­stead wanted mone­tary do­na­tions to give b a c k t o Ro c h e l l e ’s a l ma mater.

“We wanted to set up a schol­ar­ship,” she said. “We re­ally be­lieve in giv­ing back — both of us.”

Chang, who at­tended Florida In­ter­na­tional Uni­ver­sity in Mi­ami af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the School of the Arts, said she wanted a deeper con­nec­tion to where this money would go.

“And then it oc­curred to me, School of the Arts, that’s the place where we should set up this en­dow­ment,” she said.

All three Oliver sis­ters grew up in West Palm Beach and are work­ing in or study­ing a field in the arts.

Chang re­sides in New York City with her hus­band, who first sug­gested the idea of the schol­ar­ship.

Chang said she has fond mem­o­ries of her older sis­ter, Tif­fany, who is a singer, let­ting Chang hang out at the school when she was younger.

“I was al­ways in­spired by the work there,” she said. “I tried to copy her opera songs. I would stand out­side the (prac­tice) room singing and try to copy her songs.”

Chang s a i d she k nows many par­ents worry about their chil­dren sup­port­ing them­selves with a ca­reer in the arts, but it is very pos­si­ble to ac­com­plish with en­cour­age­ment and sup­port, which is what she re­ceived at SOA.

“Af­ter at­tend­ing the School of the Arts, I went on to have a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a jour- nal­ist,” she said.

Chang added that her younger sis­ter Mor­gan, is a pi­anist, and has a full schol­ar­ship to the Uni­ver­sity of Mi­ami and is go­ing to be­gin a mu­sic en­gi­neer­ing pro­gram.

It’s im­por­tant to note lo­cal alumni are com­ing back to give back to Drey­foos, she said. Stu­dents, es­pe­cially women of color, can have a ca­reer in the arts and be suc­cess­ful, Chang said.

“We want women of color to know that they can have suc­cess­ful ca­reers (in the arts) and also be women of color,” she said. “Look at the three of us (sis­ters). We’ve sat in the same seats that you’re sit­ting. And we are all do­ing well.”

For schol­ar­ship in­for­ma­tion, call 561-805-6298 or visit awd­soa.org.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW VAN BEEK

Rochelle Oliver Chang (from left), Tif­fany Oliver and Mor­gan Oliver celebrate at Rochelle’s wed­ding last Oc­to­ber where she mar­ried An­drew Chang in Ot­tawa, Canada.

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