Dear Evan Hansen "You Will Be Found" Essay Challenge Winners Announced

Fox Cities PAC among organizations awarding five students with $1000 scholarships

Published Tuesday, June 1, 2021

APPLETON, WI — The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Marcus Performing Arts Center and Overture Center for the Arts, in partnership with Rogers Behavioral Health, are pleased to announce the five Wisconsin students awarded with a $1,000 scholarship as part of the Dear Evan Hansen “You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge.

The students awarded scholarships are:

Anya Kelley, Appleton West High School
Clara McElfresh, Shorewood High School
Meghan Morgan, Pulaski High School
Maxwell Roquitte, Middleton High School
Isidore Simon, Xavier High School

Participating students were asked to respond to the following essay prompt:
Dear Evan Hansen, at its core, is a story about connection. During the past year, connection has never been more integral to our daily lives, yet we find ourselves in a moment where it requires more creativity than ever to maintain. In your essay, describe how you've managed to ensure those around you were a little less alone in recent months - or, alternatively, a moment where you yourself have found comfort in connection.

“As a provider of mental health and addiction treatment in Wisconsin for more than a century, Rogers is honored to be part of this opportunity to shine a light on how teens are helping each other during these challenging times,” says Pat Hammer, president and CEO of Rogers Behavioral Health. He adds, “We know firsthand how important it is for people to be willing to talk about their mental health struggles with the confidence that others will be willing to listen and support them.”
In addition to the scholarships, a workshop was presented featuring admission personnel from various colleges and universities to provide tips and tricks for writing an impactful essay and things they look for in the college application essay process. The virtual workshop was made available to students throughout the state and provided a valuable educational component to the essay challenge.

“We are so proud of each of the students who shared their successes and challenges of the last year in an emotional and vulnerable way,” said Fox Cities P.A.C. president Maria Van Laanen. “Each essay inspired us, moved us and reminded us that the future is full of bright, talented students who can change the world. We are honored to recognize these five students with this scholarship, and applaud all of the students who submitted essays for sharing their impactful stories.”


Dear Evan Hansen, along with partners The Broadway Education Alliance and Gotham Writers Workshop, is proud to announce the third annual “You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge, inspired by the Tony®, Grammy® and Olivier® Award-winning Broadway hit musical. In recognition of the record-breaking National Tour and meeting millions of new fans nationwide, the initiative builds on a contest previously exclusive to the New York City area, and now extends to high school juniors and seniors nationwide with one scholarship of $10,000 awarded to the college of the recipient’s choice.

"The college application process, and the essays that accompany it, have always played a role in Evan Hansen's story of a young adult coming into his own. It's what inspired us to create this essay challenge three years ago, and we're so appreciative of the chance to play a small role in supporting the education of our first two winners,” said Stacey Mindich, lead producer of Dear Evan Hansen. “Now, more than ever, we realize how the past year has impacted the educational experience for students across the country - and how those students have responded with incredible resilience and adaptability. We're excited that this is the moment we're able to expand the essay challenge nationwide, and to further lend support to a student embarking on their college journey. We're hopeful that the year ahead will ultimately find productions like Dear Evan Hansen on track to return to the stage, and students across the country able to get safely back to their classrooms."

Entries were judged by members of the Dear Evan Hansen cast and global production teams, experts from Gotham Writers Workshop and Broadway Education Alliance, and education directors and marketing teams from performing arts venues around the country. The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship to the college of their choice, funded by Dear Evan Hansen lead producer Stacey Mindich. Dear Evan Hansen also looks forward to hosting the challenge winner at the show when the production returns to the stage on Broadway or on tour.

The winner of the national challenge will be announced at a later date.

Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony®, Olivier® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

Declared “One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history” by the Washington Post’s Peter Marks, Dear Evan Hansen launched its First North American Tour at the Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado in October 2018 and since, has performed in more than 40 cities across North America playing for more than 1.5 million audience members. The Broadway production of Dear Evan Hansen opened at the Music Box Theatre to rave reviews on December 4, 2016, where it’s broken all box office records and struck a chord with critics and audiences alike. It went on to win six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the Drama League Award for Outstanding Musical Production, two Obie Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and two Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Helen Hayes Awards. Recently, the West End Production of Dear Evan Hansen won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, along with two other Olivier Awards.

Like all Broadway and touring shows in North America, Dear Evan Hansen is currently on temporary hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looks forward to returning in 2021. The Grammy Award-winning Original Broadway Cast Recording of Dear Evan Hansen, produced by Atlantic Records, was released in February 2017, making an extraordinary debut on the Billboard 200 and entering the chart at #8 – the highest charting debut position for an original cast album since 1961 – and went on to win the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

A special edition coffee table book authored by Levenson, Pasek and Paul, Dear Evan Hansen: through the window (Grand Central Publishing / Melcher) is now available, offering an in-depth, all-access look at the musical, including never-before-seen production photos and cast portraits, behind-the-scenes stories, and a fully annotated script by the authors.

Dear Evan Hansen features scenic design by David Korins, projection design by Peter Nigrini, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, and hair design by David Brian Brown. Music supervision, orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire. Ben Cohn is the Associate Music Supervisor. Vocal arrangements and additional arrangements are by Justin Paul. Danny Mefford is the choreographer. U.S. casting by Tara Rubin Casting. Danny Sharron, Adam Quinn and Trey Ellett are the Associate Directors. Judith Schoenfeld is the Production Supervisor.

Dear Evan Hansen, along with partners The Broadway Education Alliance and Gotham Writers Workshop, presented the “You Will Be Found” Challenge, recognizing excellence in storytelling and promoting student engagement with Broadway. The challenge is administered by the Broadway Education Alliance and Gotham Writers Workshop, a creative home both in New York and online for writers to develop their craft and come together in the spirit of fellowship and discovery. Gotham is also a leader in college application essay coaching.

The guidelines for this annual contest, including word length and the goal of the essay, align with the Common Application, the undergraduate college admission application that students may use to apply to any of more than 700- member colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, China and many other European countries. Students who enter the “You Will Be Found” Challenge will be able to adapt their essay and use it as their personal statements for their college applications.

For more information about:

Dear Evan Hansen, visit 
Gotham Writers Workshop, visit 
Broadway Education Alliance, visit 

Rogers Behavioral Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit provider of mental health and addiction services. Rogers offers evidence-based treatment for adults, children, and teens with depression and mood disorders, eating disorders, addiction, OCD and anxiety disorders, trauma, and PTSD. In addition to a growing network of regional locations in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. Rogers operates three inpatient behavioral health hospitals, nine residential programs, and seven outpatient centers in Wisconsin. The System also includes Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation and Rogers InHealth. Learn more at

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and cultural education organization located in downtown Appleton, provides a premier venue for live performing arts. Since 2002, the Center has proudly served as a gathering place for the community to engage in educational opportunities while enhancing a greater understanding and appreciation of life through the live performing arts. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center — Where the Arts Come Alive!

The Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee, Wis., is a premier performing arts community gathering space offering high-quality cultural and community programming. Marcus Center is home to Johnson Financial Broadway at the Marcus Center, Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera and First Stage, plus a variety of other important community and family events throughout the year. The Marcus Center is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and a dedicated veterans memorial.

Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wis. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization, featuring seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and four galleries where national and international touring artists, 10 resident companies and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year. With the vision to provide “Extraordinary Experiences for All,” Overture’s mission is to support and elevate our community’s creative culture, economy and quality of life through the arts