Scholarship, made possible by dad’s military sacrifice, sets Cape Coral teen on educational path to dream job
A recent Cape Coral High School graduate is in the process of making her dreams become a reality in Los Angeles while attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy College of Performing Arts where she is studying musical theater.
Kayla Fischl graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at Cape Coral High School with a 4.5 grade point average.
The 19-year-old freshman was awarded a scholarship from the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund to help her with her tuition. The scholarship is awarded to daughters and sons of military heroes who have been killed, classified as a Prisoner of War, Missing in Action, or permanently disabled as the result of an operational mission or training accident.
Michelle Oddis, Freedom Alliance Communications Director said in excess of $1 million in scholarships has been awarded since 1990. They are currently providing scholarships to 225 students.
The application process, she said, is not difficult. The student needs to provide information given by the VA to certify that their parent is either 100 percent disabled, or was killed in combat. An essay about themselves and a photo also is submitted with the application.
Applications can be filled out every year.
The organizations keeps in touch with the students throughout the year to make sure they are doing well, along with sending them care packages if they need them.
“My dad told me to start applying for scholarships because college isn’t cheap,” Fischl said.
She began researching scholarships before she found a school she wanted to attend.
“I was so happy when I got it,” she said about being awarded the one-time $3,500 scholarship from the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.
Her father, Cpl. John Fischl served in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“My dad is a great guy,” she said., adding that he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, along with hearing loss as a result of the war.
“My dad is a hero in every sense of the word,” Fischl said. “Because of my dad’s service to his country, I am able to dream, to be free and to explore all of life’s possibilities for my future.”
To attend the AMDA College of Performing Arts and obtain her degree it will cost her $36,000.
She also received a $5,000 academic scholarship from the school. She said while attending high school she worked at Cold Stone Creamery and stashed away money to help her pay for groceries and clothes for school.
Her passion for the arts began to blossom when she was 9 when she was introduced to ballet. Her love for the arts continued when she started doing theater in sixth grade, along with getting into the choir.
“I knew I loved being on the stage,” she said about her performance in the “Nutcracker” and “Peter Pan.” “I absolutely fell in love with it.”
Thoughts of becoming a lawyer crossed the young college student’s mind, but quickly left her junior year of high school when she realized that she will never be happy until she does something she loves, which was musical theatre.
“I will never work a day in my life unless I am doing what I love,” Fischl said.
Fischl started applying in November and began auditioning in February.
“I was very scared, very nervous,” she said about the audition at AMDA College of Performing Arts. “This is pretty much the audition that determined the rest of my life.”
Her audition was in front of one nice older lady who listened to her sing a song and read a monologue. Fischl said she sang the entire song “Somebody, Somewhere” without being stopped and at the very end the judge said “Honey, you sang that beautifully.”
After receiving that comment, her confidence level rose.
Fischl moved to Los Angeles last week on her birthday and began classes on Oct. 17.
“I love my school,” she said. “I love all my teachers and love all my classes.”
Her schedule consists of five days of classes, which include acting, musical theater and playwriting. Fischl said it is a very rigorous program that will prepare her for the workforce.
“Every day is like musical theater,” she said with much enthusiasm, adding that she wakes up every day saying “Oh my God, I get to go to school today.”
Fischl hopes to graduate in two and a half years instead of four by working through the summer.
Her ultimate goal and dream is to work at Disney as a performer after she graduates.