Burton Tedesco, Assistant Professor of Theater at Naugatuck Valley Community College, loves his work. He delivers the elements defined in the mission of the Performing Arts Department, which are to provide mentorship, teach fundamental skills, create opportunities for performance and present pathways to further student training and careers.
His own personal mission is to graduate students. During advising, I tell my students, “Credits fluctuate, but a degree is yours and no one can take that from you.” One of the most gratifying aspects of any professor’s career is the success of the graduates. Tedesco reported anecdotes from 5 NVCC grads from the Class of 2016 whose major at NVCC was Visual and Performing Arts (Theatre).
Brian Bowyer graduated to pursue a BA in Theatrical Arts with a minor in Arts Management. He transferred to SUNY Purchase in New York at junior status. His stage combat training at NVCC and his extended training with Dueling Arts International earned him an invite to join the stage combat club at Purchase in his first week on campus.
Edward Montoya was accepted into the Acting Program at SUNY Purchase to pursue a BFA. He was one of 18 students accepted from a pool of 600 applicants, at a university that boasts prestigious alumni like Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci.
Daniel Morrow is pursuing a BA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Music (Voice and Piano). After graduation from NVCC, he transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi, the alma mater of Assistant Professor Burton Tedesco, at junior status, which included a large grant/academic scholarship and an out-of-state tuition fees waiver. Dan has already been cast in the fall Mainstage Production of Peer Gynt. The casting of a first-semester transfer student in a Mainstage Production at Southern Miss is so rare that the department created a special alternative production to provide performance opportunities to those students.
Ashley Sweet, valedictorian of the Class of 2016, graduated to pursue a BA in Theatre Arts.
Sweet was hired over the summer as the Rehearsal Stage Manager at the Ridgefield Theatre Barn in Ridgefield, CT for their production of Farragut North. She transferred to Southern Connecticut State University at junior status and was awarded a significant financial grant. This semester, she will be the Assistant Stage Manager for the SCSU production of “The Boy Friend.”
Adriana Varanko is pursuing a BFA in Performing Arts. She transferred to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) at junior status. She received a large grant and academic scholarships.
According to Tedesco, “The training these students received at NVCC, in every class, has greatly prepared them for these major universities. In their first weeks on their new campuses, these five students have been thrust into leadership roles, including working on productions as actors and technicians. They left NVCC not only with the academic and artistic skills, but also with confidence in themselves. They all understand that the ability to be successful is inside of them because they were successful here.”
NVCC graduates from the Visual and Performing Arts Program are reporting consistent success in transitioning to four-year colleges and universities. According to Tedesco, “We have every confidence that this trend will continue. Dream big! Work hard! I graduated with an AA degree from a community college. Now, I have a Master’s of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance and work in my field of study. If I can do it everybody can.”