EESS drama scholarship to honour Laura Jean McCann

·2 min read

The McCann family are starting a scholarship at East Elgin Secondary School to continue the legacy of former teacher Laura Jean McCann, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 68 earlier this year.

“We know she loved teaching and giving back to the arts, and helping others succeed. So, we thought, what better way of honouring her memory than providing a scholarship at East Elgin for those wanting to get into dramatic arts?” said her son, Wes McCann.

She was a dramatic arts and English teacher at EESS for about 33 years, who inspired many students to pursue the arts. After Laura Jean retired, she helped to start the Aylmer Community Theatre, an organization that focuses on staging quality productions at Aylmer Old Town Hall.

She was passionate about dramatic arts, and has been a director, producer and actor with community theatre companies across Southwestern Ontario and was a member of the Western Ontario Drama League.

“She was like a light in every room, and was certainly someone who made an impact on so many people's lives,” said Wes.

In addition to theatre, she was an accomplished cellist and in her youth was a member of the Western University gymnastics team. She also worked as a provincial gymnastic judge.

A lifelong learner, in her sixties she added competitive dancing to her skillset, including Latin and ballroom.

Wes said the family was hoping to implement the scholarship by September, when the school year starts up again. Any student planning to pursue post-secondary education related to the dramatic arts would be eligible for the scholarship.

The scholarship is intended to be recurring for multiple years, said Wes, instead of a one-time disbursement, with the amount having yet to be determined. A GoFundMe online site to raise money for the scholarship has surpassed $16,000, with a $20,000 goal. The link to the donation page is www.gofundme.com/f/laura-jean-mccann-scholarship-fund.

Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express