The Lucketts Ruritan Club’s top scholarship of $5000 was awarded to Ella Nassauer to pursue her studies in the honors college of the arts at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. Ella’s academic excellence stands for itself. As president of the 2021 senior class at Tuscarora High School, she graduated with a GPA of 4.54, excelling in AP classes which included U.S. and world History, Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, English and Literature, and micro/macroeconomics. Recognizing the importance of ‘giving back’, Ella was actively involved in community service clubs at Tuscarora. For example, Key Club, Latin Club, National Honor and Latin Societies, all of which require community service volunteer hours. One aspect she noted as I sat across from her at her kitchen table was how rewarding it felt to be involved with the Lucketts Food Pantry at Faith Chapel. She regularly spends time packing the food bags for families in need and has helped to load the cars, often receiving a smile of gratitude as the recipients drive away. She has also volunteered at the Bridle Paths, a therapeutic riding center which helps individuals with special needs discover opportunities for physical, social, cognitive, psychological, and emotional development. Like many young (and maybe not so young) adults, Ella struggled to find her way in choosing a career path and found it stressful to try and decide in which direction to take her life. To keep all of her options open she chose high school classes that would allow her the most flexibility. Throughout her primary education she enrolled in classes that she thought would lead to a stable job and allow her to earn a good living.
She worked very hard to excel in these difficult, hard science and math classes while also pursuing extracurricular activities in theatre, music and art that she really loved. Ella has a beautiful voice and has been singing since sixth grade, performing in many theatre productions such as Annie, Shrek, and The Little Mermaid. Most recently she had the lead role as Jo March in Little Women. Ella also became involved with costume design which sparked an interest in fashion and modifying clothes to express her own unique style. For Ella, this combination of stage, costume and fashion design resulted in an interest in putting it all together using photography. She organized photoshoots with friends where they experimented with make-up, set design, lighting, and different poses to capture a specific visual aesthetic. As her junior year came to a close and college application deadlines loomed, Ella weighed choosing a major that was viewed as “stable” versus where her heart truly led her. After many conversations with, and support from her family, ultimately, passion and enthusiasm tipped the scales and her decision to pursue her passion for the arts won in the end.
After talking with Ella, I was reminded of this quote by Carmelo Anthony “Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.” Good luck Ella! The Lucketts Ruritan Club could not be prouder to support you and wishes you great success in your future endeavors.