2023-24 Edna Jensen Fine Arts Scholarship Awardee, Tennessen Laforest, DSHA '24

This scholarship assists one junior or senior who shows talent and promise in the area of fine arts, as well as overall educational experience. Tennessen Laforest, DSHA ’24, is the current recipient of the scholarship that was established in 1998 by Edna Zadravetz Jensen, HA ’33.
Laforest walked into DSHA freshman year having never touched a power tool, and an interest in being in the spotlight on stage. After being cast in a handful of productions, and participating behind-the-scenes in stage crew for others, Laforest realized a passion lay in set design, lighting production, and directing.

“I walked into Mrs. Marsala’s (Producing Director Amanda Marsala) office the first day of my junior year and said ‘I want to do what you do. How do I get there?’” Since then, Laforest started building a professional portfolio that included personal painting pieces, ceramics works, set designs, and stage crew props.

Fine Arts Department Chair and Visual Arts Faculty Nora Larscheid speaks of this strong work ethic. “Tennessen spends a significant amount of time in the art studio as well as in the DSHA Theatre department building sets and props for the productions. When Tennessen signed up to take AP Studio Art: 2D Design senior year, we saw a seriousness about pursuing the arts.”

Recently, Laforest accepted a seat at the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in Saint Louis. To be admitted, students must be accepted to the university and then apply, interview, and present a professional portfolio to the conservatory. Laforest will obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Direction while getting hands-on technical direction skills by working alongside renowned professionals.

Laforest recounted how DSHA has helped find and develop this passion, sharing, “The DSHA Theatre program is so rigorous and runs like a college-level program. I’ve been able to design and build so much on my own, like the fire pit in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (DSHA’s fall musical). The program has given me so much.”

Laforest recently served as the Assistant Scenic Designer for the DSHA winter play: Peter and the Starcatcher while working on completing the final portfolio for AP Studio Art: 2D Design
    • Scholarship awardee Tennessen Laforest, DSHA '24.


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