In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the attention focused by Black Lives Matter, McAndrew felt compelled to do something to make a difference. She is a freelance writer. A friend in a writers' group bought tickets to a high-end freelance writers' convention and gave them to women of color so they could attend. This was McAndrew's inspiration to create a scholarship for local African American students. "We started it in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement as a way to try to do something small to help area African Americans reach their academic/career goals," says McAndrew.
McAndrew, Krehbiel and Tarr are friends; all have adopted a minority-race child. McAndrew's adopted son is from South Korea. The Stand Together Scholarship was established at LLCC with the intention of helping students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to afford college achieve their associate's degree. Each scholarship is $4,000, which can be renewed for a second year. LLCC selects the students based on the criteria established for the award. "It's a full ride, so students don't have to worry about piecing together many smaller scholarships, which takes time and energy that could be spent on learning," says McAndrew.
Tyler and Hickman are both graduates of Lanphier High School. "Being awarded this scholarship has me looking past the cost and affordability of my college education and more focused on my future career," said Hickman. "I'm 120% positive that by attending LLCC it will help me reach my goal of being a successful radiologist. I'll make sure to show my true potential in regard to my academic career, social skills and work ethic."
Friends, family and other community members have contributed to the scholarship fund. Annually the founders of this scholarship host an informal fundraiser. During the heart of the pandemic, Tarr's son, who is a violinist, gave a lawn concert. Last year Kathryn Harris portrayed Harriet Tubman at an event at Southwind Park. This year they are having a comedy improv fundraiser on Sat., Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. at Boccardi's Italian restaurant, 3132 Cockrell Lane. Their goal is to raise enough money to provide an additional scholarship.
McAndrew, in addition to being an accomplished writer, has taken improv classes with Second City. She has also researched how modern improv stemmed from Hull House in Chicago. She's enlisted other local actors for a night of comedy, including Jim Leach, Mary Young, LaDonna Wilson and Johnny Molson, who has also trained at Second City. McAndrew will talk about the history of modern improv and how it spread from Chicago across the country. The actors will engage the audience in comedy games and demonstrate in Saturday Night Live-style how improv comedy troupes create comedy skits. Johnny Molson and Mary Young are part of the local improv group, Portuguese Rodeo Clown Company, celebrating its 10th successful year. Jim Leach and LaDonna Wilson are experienced comic actors. There is no admission fee, but donations are encouraged. Refreshments will be served, and food and drink will be available to purchase.
To donate to the Stand Together Scholarship Fund, go to https://llccfoundation.org/donate and select Stand Together Scholarship.
Karen Ackerman Witter has admired Tara McClellan McAndrew's writing skills for many years and looks forward to witnessing her skills as an improv comedian.