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Byron High School

Megan Clift Memorial Fund Gifts BCUSD

Megan was a member of the Byron’s choirs  and theatrical productions in middle school and high school before she was tragically killed in a car accident her senior year of high school.  The donation in honor of Megan, from the Clift family, has been used to support many activities and events that the choir and theatre program participate in.  Here are several ways the donation has been used this last school year.

Scholarships have been granted to students who have been selected to be a member of the Honors Performance Series National Honor Choir in New York City.  The students audition for the Performance Series and, if they are selected, they will participate in an honor choir with students from the United States and International schools.  Their final performance is in Carnegie Hall.  There have been 3 middle school students that have benefitted from this scholarship this year.

The Byron Thespian Troupe has used a large chunk of the fund on a yearly basis to travel to the Illinois High School Theatre Festival.  This festival is the largest statewide HS theatre festival in the country and brings together over 4500 students every January for 3 days of workshops and performances. The funds help make the cost of registration and hotel manageable for our students and gives them the opportunity of yearly opportunities in theatre education. 

This year the Thespians will also plan to attend the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska.  This event, which takes place in June, is a full week on the college campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  High schools from across the country bring performances to share and industry professionals from Broadway, Universities, and other reputable programs bring educational opportunities and performances all week.  Students also have the opportunity to audition for college admission and scholarships to theatre programs all across the United States.  The Megan Clift Memorial Fund will help to make this trip achievable to students who are serious about their pursuit of theatre education.

Byron’s Chamber Choir participates in a choir festival at Augustana College each year.  A portion of the fees for this event were covered by the money donated to the choir.  The choir works with the college directors in a mass choir setting, but also has an individual clinic with them.  The final event for the weekend is a concert and a performance from each choir in attendance.   Thanks to the memorial fund, Students from the Byron choir program was also able to attend the Western Illinois Honor Choir, under the direction of Dr. James Stegall.

Each year, at the Shining Star Showcase, an award is presented to the outstanding choir student and to an outstanding theatre of the year.  This year the awards were presented to Caleigh Huber and Izzy Bartscher for excellence through their high school music and theatre careers.  The success of the Shining Star donations and other donations from “Friends of Megan” help to continue the assistance that is given to the Byron Choirs and its membership.  The choir and theatre members are very appreciative of the support from the Megan Clift Memorial Fund established at the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and the friendship of Ed and Beth Clift.