Alumni sisters start arts scholarship for Dreyfoos students
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.
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.