Steve Bayless Undergraduate Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The Steve Bayless Undergraduate Scholarship is designated for a high school student on entering a college or university in the SETC region to major in theatre.

In 2019, the SETC Board of Directors voted unanimously to name the SETC Undergraduate Scholarship in honor of Steve Bayless, who passed away that summer. As a junior high and high school music teacher for over 35 years, Steve touched the lives of thousands of students – sharing not just his appreciation for music and theatre but also the values of hard work, confidence, respect, diversity and caring for others. Steve served on the SETC Board and received SETC’s Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award. Most recently, Steve was the executive director of the Florida Theatre Conference.

Application Deadline Has Passed
Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 11:59PM ET

  • Applications Accepted: January 1 – April 1
  • Application Reviews / Candidate Interviews: April – June
  • Winning Scholar Announced on SETC Website
  • Scholarship Funds Available: Upon Proof of Matriculation, Upcoming Academic Year
  • Winning Scholar Attends SETC Convention
  • $2,000
  • Free one-year SETC student membership
  • Free registration for the following year’s SETC Convention
  • Photo and bio recognition on the SETC website

Candidates must meet each of these qualifications to be eligible for this award:

  • You must be a current high school senior in the SETC region*
  • You must be planning to attend an accredited program of theatre studies in the SETC region* during the 2021-2022 academic year.

* The SETC region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

  • Personal letter outlining plans and objectives for theatre study
  • Complete theatre resume
  • Three (3) letters of reference, one (1) of which must be from a high school principal addressing the applicant’s talent and potential for academic success as a theatre major
  • Complete, current transcript including GPA, class rank, and SAT or ACT scores

Questions about submitting application materials should be sent to

Previous Scholarship Recipients

This award was previously known as the Secondary School Scholarship and has incorporated funding from the former Polly Holliday Scholarship.

Casey Butler has appeared on Broadway as George Llewelyn Davies in the musical Finding Neverland and in a number of regional productions including Westside Story as Baby John and as Elmer in Newsies! at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Other regional credits include Billy Ray, Jr. in On Golden Pond, Gus/Augustus in Arcadia, and Tom of Warwick in Camelot at Palm Beach Dramaworks, a role he reprised on the national tour. With the help of the SETC Steve Bayless Undergraduate Scholarship, Casey will continue his training in Musical Theatre at the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University.

Knight Headshot - Bayless 20-21

Alice McCracken Knight

Alice McCracken Knight is from Boone, North Carolina. She will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Dramatic Art with a probable double major in Women’s and Gender Studies. Always a creative spirit, Alice’s passion for theatre performance was sparked at age five and has grown ever since. She is an alumnus of Watauga High School, and has also attended the UNC School of the Arts Drama Summer Intensive and the North Carolina Governor’s School West for theatre. Alice cannot wait to continue her artistic growth and study of theatre at the collegiate level, where she hopes to further explore and create experimental and physical theatre. She credits much of who she is today to the mentorship of her high school theatre educators, Sarah Miller and Zach Walker. Alice spends much of her free time outside hiking or skiing, and she also loves to sing, write, and learn about the intersections of art and social justice.

Leah Eichhorn headshot

Leah Eichhorn

A life-long homeschool student, Leah Eichhorn will be entering her freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she will pursue a double major in Theatre and Arts Administration. Having been involved with theatre since she was seven years old, Leah has worked in many aspects of drama from performing to costuming, but her passion lies in stage management. She has stage managed several plays in the North Carolina Triad area, including four productions from Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company. For the past four years, she has attended the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp, where she has developed a deep passion for the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Having studied numerous forms of martial arts for the past 14 years, Leah holds a black belt in American Kenpo. In her spare time she enjoys playing music (guitar, bass guitar, and drums), drawing, and writing short stories.


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