A Thanksgiving Message from Niki Rapattoni

The Rapattoni Family sends our many thanks to all of you as we enter this “2020 Season of Thanksgiving” and reflect on Andy’s quote, “From every adversity comes the seed of a greater benefit.”

This has been a difficult time and we have all struggled with various issues adjusting to personal and business demands from the pandemic.

It seems appropriate to take this opportunity to report on the recipients of the Rapattoni Drama Scholarship, and to once again thank all of the donors for making a difference in the lives of these young people.

This scholarship was established by us in 2012 after seeing the fantastic musicals being produced at Chaffey High School in Ontario, California. We met with the CHS Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, David Masterson, who was responsible for this award-winning theatre company, and decided that an annual scholarship would be awarded based on his criteria that included scholastic achievement, teamwork, acting/production, and other contributions. Dave retired in May of 2020 and his legacy of excellence continues.

Andy and I were CHS students and met in the historic Gardner W. Spring Auditorium (on campus) in 1956. Andy has been gone since 2015 and we were sweethearts 60 years, married 55 years, and in business together 45 years (still sweethearts). Upon Andy’s passing there was an outpouring of donations to the Rapattoni Drama Scholarship Fund in his memory. With thanks to all of the donors, it is with pride that we have awarded nine years of recipients and will continue to do so.

I reached out to the recipients to find out how they are weathering the pandemic mandates and where they are on life’s journey. We are wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving with their heart-warming replies.

Rapattoni Drama Scholarship Winners - Where are they now?

Gabriel Navarro

2012 - Gabriel Navarro

From Gabe’s website – Fall of 2020:

Since graduating from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City (Conservatory Program), I've had the opportunity to study and work both Internationally and throughout the U.S. in both lead and ensemble roles. A few of my favorite roles in which I performed/understudied include: (Agustin Magaldi) in Evita, (Redcoat) in Austen's Pride - A New Musical, (Rudy) in Empire - A New Musical, (Ensemble/Aaron U/S) in The Prince Of Egypt - A New Musical, (Ensemble/ Prince Topher U/S) in Cinderella, (Ensemble/ Rudolpho U/S) in Matilda, (Aladdin/Prince Ali) in Tokyo, Japan's Concert of Love - Valentines Night 2017, (Billy Lawlor) in 42nd Street, (Bernardo) in West Side Story, (Phantom) in The Phantom of The Opera, (Mitch Mahoney) in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and lastly (Macavity/ Plato) in Cats. http://www.gabrielnavarrojr.com

Vincent LaVigna

2013 - Vincent LaVigna

From Vinny – Fall of 2020:

After graduating Chaffey High School, I continued to perform at a college level where I played Riff in West Side Story and Oscar in Sweet Charity in Orlando, FL. Currently living in New England, I have started a Product Design and Software Development company called BrandKnew. Check us out at https://brandknew.io. In two years, we have grown to 9 employees in 4 different states and 2 countries! Our products are on store shelves nationally and our software is used by thousands. I am also enrolled in the business program at UCONN (University of Connecticut), and I intend to graduate with an MBA. I am so, so, thankful for my time with David Masterson and the support of the Rapattoni family. Stay safe everyone!

Jade Winter White

2014 – Jade Winter White

From Jade’s reviews and magazine article – Fall of 2020:

Jade knocked it out of the park as Christine Daae in the CHS musical, Phantom of the Opera, that played to sold-out fall and spring performances in 2011/2012. She was a sophomore and went on to have leading rolls in CHS productions through her senior year. She has continued to perform locally and write music since graduating from CHS and has had two singles released this year that can be found on Apple Music. Jade had a great personal article written about her in Voyage LA online magazine in 2019.

Jonathan Guevara

2015 – Jonathan Guevara

From Jonathan – Fall of 2020:

Since graduating Chaffey High School, Jonathan has continued his education at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. He has been very involved in the dance program there and is finishing his last semester before transferring to a California university. He has also been very active with the Chaffey Theatre company. Since post-graduation, he has been part of productions such as In the Heights, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He recently choreographed Chaffey Theatre Company’s The Little Mermaid as his first major project. Pre-Covid, he was in the midst of rehearsals for The Addams Family. He hopes to be performing once again and working on his craft as soon as the mandates are over.

Adam Granados

2016 - Adam Granados

From Adam – Fall of 2020:

Since graduating from Chaffey High School, Adam has received his Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing with a Minor in Theatre Arts from California State University, San Bernardino. He is currently enrolled in the credential program at CSUSB, so that he may be able to teach English or Theatre Arts at the high school level. While being a full-time student, Adam has continued to pursue an acting career in various roles such as Donkey in Shrek the Musical, The Scarecrow in The Wiz, Roger in Grease, and ensemble roles in Into the Woods and All Shook Up. Adam has also had the opportunity of performing aboard the Queen Mary during the annual Christmas celebration. He also has returned to CHS to assist his own mentor, Dave Masterson. Adam plans to continue to pursue a career in theatre while he pursues a teaching career.

Anthony Nelson

2017 - Anthony Nelson

From Anthony – Fall of 2020:

Since graduating from Chaffey High School, I married my high school sweetheart, Athena Hernandez (CHS 2016), in August of 2019. We live in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, and together we have been getting a lot of experience in business and marketing as our dream is to own a business. We are pursuing the food industry as we have a passion for customer service and owning a pizza restaurant. We have had some excellent training from our current store owner, who has 20-plus years of experience as an elite franchise owner and is training us to start a partnership before we take the next step. Currently we are managing the Pizza Guys store in Rancho Cucamonga and are learning a lot about rolling up our sleeves, getting our hands dirty, and putting in a hard day’s work. We know this is all worth it as we work toward running our own store. During the pandemic we have stayed open and we have been able to donate over 1000 pizzas to hospitals around the San Bernardino County. The Rapattoni Scholarship was wonderful to receive and I want to thank you again for what it has meant to me. You and your husband are true inspirations having run your own business all these years.

Ashley Flores

2018 - Ashley Flores

From Ashley – Fall of 2020:

Since graduating from Chaffey HS, I have been attending California State University, San Bernardino. I am in the midst of my third year of college and I am studying Communications with a concentration in Media Studies. Even though Covid put life on pause, I have managed to join a multimedia group that spreads awareness on today’s societal issues while also uplifting voices of the youth, especially those within the Latinx community. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in either film or television where I would like to be a part of the pre-production of it all. The courses I am currently taking are helping me understand and navigate the ways of creating a story and executing it through the use of color, angles, sound, etc. I plan to take advantage of the time given during this pandemic to network and see the different possibilities my education can bring to me.

Jasmine Padilla

2019 - Jasmine Padilla

From Jasmine – Fall of 2020:

I am in Citrus College in Glendora, California, studying to transfer and get my English degree. I am also getting reels created (audition tapes) and more education in acting so I can begin auditioning for any type of films, TV shows, music videos, etc. I am looking for student films to work in as well. At the same time, I am also a manager at a cupcake shop in Ontario, CA. I also love fostering animals and I have fostered one kitten into a great home and I hope to foster more animals in need. The Rapattoni scholarship was such a blessing to someone like me who didn’t really think I could get a scholarship to anything unless I had Harvard acceptance level grades. It made me happy to have something like theater be so appreciated and to have its own scholarship. Being rewarded for something you are so passionate about is such a great feeling.

Zohary Gonzalez

2020 - Zohary Gonzalez

From Zoey – Fall of 2020:

The year 2020 has been a very unexpected year. After graduating from Chaffey High School, I was set to attend The Young Americans College of Performing Arts in Corona, California. Everything was in place, and I had already met my soon to be classmates. Unfortunately, the school made a difficult decision that it would not be able to admit the 2020 class this fall, giving us the option to complete our general education requirements at a local community college. Since then I have relocated my studies at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and have focused on completing my general education requirements. My goal is to then transfer into a performing arts program at a new college or resume the year with The Young Americans for the fall 2021 school year. More recently, I began taking film and television classes hosted by a studio/acting agency and have been attending classes there for nearly three months. I have also been spending time with my family and staying positive during these difficult times.