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Alumnus creates Dream Career Award with profits from "Terror in the Trees"
Monday, March 22, 2010

Mike Raisch during "Terror in the Trees"
Mike Raisch, with prop from "Terror in the Trees" event 2009.

Students interested in applying for the Dream Career Award should download the application, and for more information, contact Interactive Theatre Society Advisor  Laurel Walford  or Raisch.  The deadline for applications is a post date of April 10 if sending by USPS, or April 12 for campus mail.

A SUNY Fredonia student who is passionate about his or her chosen major and has a "dream" for it will win a $637 prize created by alumnus Mike Raisch (’09), co-founder of the Interactive Theatre Society (ITS) at SUNY Fredonia.

Calling it the Dream Career Award, Raisch created the prize with the profits from the annual haunted trail, Terror in the Trees.

The scholarship is aimed at students who, like Raisch was, are truly passionate about their chosen major.  Fredonia students are eligible to apply if they will be enrolled full-time during the next (2010-2011) academic year and have declared a major.

The deadline for applications is a post date of April 10 if sending by USPS, or April 12 for campus mail.  Students interested in applying for the Dream Career Award should download the application, and for more information, contact Interactive Theatre Society Advisor  Laurel Walford  or Raisch.

“I’m looking for someone who has the passion that I did,” said Raisch, whether it’s for teaching math, studying biology, acting, singing, or even becoming a puppeteer, “as long as it’s what they love to do and they can show us.” Suggestions for submissions include teaching plans for future teachers, videos of performances or portfolios of work. “Prove to us that you are going to school for what you love!” Raisch challenges on the application.

Raisch, Walford and an appointed member of the ITS executive board will select the top choices of the entries based on creativity, content, passion and effort. The current ITS members will then vote on the top choices. The grand prize will be awarded according to majority vote.

“I am proud to be a part of the Interactive Theatre Society, and delighted that they are able to create this award,” said Walford, Raisch’s mentor and one of the award’s judges.

Raisch is no stranger to following his own academic passions. He developed his own “Halloween Entertainment” major through the Interdisciplinary Department, studying topics such as cult and horror films, gothic literature, technical theatre and entrepreneurship in pursuit of his dream of running a professional haunted house.

“I wish somebody would have told me earlier that I could do what I wanted,” said Raisch, who created the award to “inspire other people to chase after their own dreams.”

Raisch began running a haunted house in the eighth grade as a 9/11 benefit fund, and he hasn’t stopped since. He acted on the school’s lack of a haunted trail attraction when he came to Fredonia in 2006, and the success of Terror in the Trees has grown exponentially over the last three years; Raisch even used the popular Halloween attraction for academic purposes as an independent study.

Last October’s spooky event featured record numbers of actors, scenes and crowds and even included performers for those waiting in line, such as campus a cappella groups Premium Blend and the Guerrillas. Next year’s Terror in the Trees is anticipated to involve even more attractions, scenes and actors.


 

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