Congratulations to Cedar Rapids Jefferson and their theatre department! Jefferson is one of 50 schools around the nation, chosen by NBC, to receive a $10,000 grant through R.I.S.E. (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America. A half-million dollars is being awarded to schools around the U.S.

More than 1,000 schools applied for grants. Each had to submit a video that showcased their theatre program. They also had to include a 500-word essay saying why they deserved the money and how they'd utilize it. An administrator or school principal had to endorse every application.

The R.I.S.E. American program was inspired by the new NBC show "Rise," which debuts Tuesday, March 13.

According to "Rise" creator and executive producer Jason Katims,"

It is a dream come true for me that 'Rise' will have a genuine impact on 50 high school drama programs throughout the country. It has never been clearer that the future of our country rests on the shoulders of the next generation of young leaders. I am excited about the notion that the R.I.S.E. America grants will help support, inspire and nurture creative young minds throughout the country, especially at a time when arts in education is under-valued and under-funded. I am blown away by the generosity of NBC and Bob Greenblatt, along with the efforts of the Educational Theatre Foundation, who have made this all possible.

Congratulations Cedar Rapids Jefferson AND to NBC, for doing so much good for teens around the U.S. with these grants.

[via Educational Theatre Assocation]