McDonald spent her summer involved in musical theatre, community work and more

Hannah J. McDonald (Center Left) receives a second Carson Scholarship, presented by Ben Carson (Left). Photo provided.

By Joey McWilliams

Hannah J. McDonald is beginning her senior year at Durant High School this month and she got a running start to get her final year of high school going.

From taking part in musical theatre workshops in New York City and Dallas to helping her own community grow here in Durant and more, the senior had a busy summer.

McDonald said she wants to be a musical theatre major in college and had the opportunity to learn more about that path while attending an intensive workshop the Broadway Artists Alliance in NYC.

“It’s an auditioned group for those who may be up-and-coming prospects,” McDonald said. “And we got to perform for some of the industry’s top casting directors and program directors at colleges with musical theatre majors. They placed us in groups and they told us what schools they think we would best fit into and what programs fit us best.

Hannah J. in NYC.
Photo provided.

“I plan on going to school in New York and NYU is my dream school, but it’s wherever God leads me.”

McDonald also had the chance to learn about the business a little closer to home, as she and fellow senior Luke Herron represented Durant High School at the Dallas Summer Musical High School Musical Theatre Awards.

“With that we got to perform with industry professionals, like Penny Maas, a choreographer, and Tracy Jordan, with Dallas Summer Musicals. We got to learn under their direction for four days before performing the finale of the Awards show.”

But the senior during her summer was also rewarded for her academic achievement. McDonald was recognized for the second consecutive year as a Carsons Scholar, a program founded by Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, which honors students who have embraced high levels of academic excellence and community service.

Her academic success was just a part of garnering her the recognition, McDonald has also been working around the city promoting it with the social media campaign Show Me Main Street and its accompanying hashtag #showmemainstreet.

“It just supports local business and it celebrates community and by promoting events in the community and ways that people can be interactive with the people around them.”

McDonald said also that she would like to see this idea grow into more than just a campaign and is working to make it into a non-profit organization.

But the summer is done and one final year of high school remains.

“It’s pretty crazy starting my senior year,” McDonald said. “I feel like these past years have flown by. It’s going to be a very busy year, but a very fun year with lots of memories and lots of friends and lots of firsts and lots of lasts. So I’m just looking forward to what the future holds.

“I obviously want to go to Broadway in the further-out future after going to college. I’m just getting on that track and working to achieve those goals.”

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