Jewish Journal

New Jew Grad Gets Top Entrepreneur Scholarship

by Julie Gruenbaum Fax

August 24, 2010 | 9:22 pm

New Community Jewish High School 2010 graduate Shayna Turk was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation, with a scholarship sponsored by VISA.

Turk founded Shayna Turks Academy of Rising Stars (STARS) (dramastars.com/) when she was 11, to give kids a chance to star in musical theater shows, which Turk directs, choreographs and markets. Turk, who has been acting since she was 5, started with eight campers and now has more than 30. More than 100 people usually attend each of the four shows for her productions. She also runs an afterschool program during the year.

All of the proceeds from STARS’ shows — this summer’s “The Sound of Music” is its 10th production — support the Music for Heart Foundation, an organization founded by the family of one of Turk’s campers who had life-saving surgery for a congenital heart defect. The foundation, an affiliate of Gift of Life International, pays for heart surgeries in struggling countries and works on developing sustainable pediatric cardio-thoracic surgical programs. The $10,000 Turk has donated to Music for Heart has saved the lives of six children.

Turk was chosen by the Young Entrepreneur Foundation from 4,300 candidates across the country, and will receive a $10,000 educational scholarship to attend USC.

“Starting and running a business definitely has its challenges, but the rewards make it worth it, especially since I feel that I have been able to have a positive impact on the lives of young people, especially those in need,” Turk said at a June ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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