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Ballet scholarships for military youth

Tacoma City Ballet announces The Lieutenant Colonel Rudolpf Ceragioli Annual Scholarship

Lt. Col. Rudolpf Ceragioli of the U.S. Army Reserve (1925-2013), whom the new Tacoma City Ballet military scholarship is named after. Photo courtesy of Tacoma City Ballet

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Sometimes, the best way to honor our past is to look to the future and find meaningful ways to support our youth. Tacoma City Ballet (TCB) is rising to that challenge this summer, as it opens a new military scholarship program for children of active-duty military personnel. The Lieutenant Colonel Rudolpf Ceragioli Annual Scholarship was announced May 8.

"We want to honor those groups of people in society who do things for us every day, things that we don't readily see or appreciate," said Erin M. Ceragioli, the executive artistic director at TCB. "I hope this scholarship helps military families feel appreciated and honored."

The new military scholarship is open to youth ages 4 to 17 years old. It covers the full costs of yearlong instruction at TCB, beginning in September and ending the following June. Youth who've previously been awarded a scholarship at TCB may apply, and students can receive the military scholarship more than once.    

"Sometimes, we have students who start (dancing) at 4 years old, and who stay with us until they're 18," said Ceragioli, who's been working at Tacoma City Ballet for 33 years now. "Families can start applying now ... They have until August to apply, and classes start in September."

Interested applicants can apply for the scholarship in-person at Tacoma City Ballet in downtown Tacoma. They can also contact TCB to have an application mailed to them. Proof of military I.D. from a family member on active-duty military status must be presented along with the scholarship application. 

"Over the years, we've had many dancers who are from military families," said Ceragioli. "They get transferred a lot and they have to go from school to school."

Because TCB tuition costs vary depending on a student's age, there isn't a set number of military scholarships available. Instead, TCB has set aside an allocation of funds and will continue to award scholarships until funding is expended. Since TCB was founded in 1955, it has awarded over $1 million in scholarship funds to more than 1,000 students. The ballet school is a nonprofit organization working to nurture and develop young ballet dancers, teach classical ballet, and produce quality ballet performances for the local community.

The Lieutenant Colonel Rudolpf Ceragioli Annual Scholarship is named after Erin Ceragioli's uncle, a highly decorated Army reserve officer who fought in World War II. Lt. Col. Ceragioli was stationed in Italy during WWII. He played an integral part in keeping Ceragioli's extended family (most of whom resided in Italy during WWII) and immediate family (whom had immigrated to the U.S.) safe and connected during the war. He served in the 605th Field Artillery, 10th Mountain Division, in the U.S. Army Reserve. His awards include the American Service Medal, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal 134 HQ, 10th Mountain Division Meritorious Service Unit Plaque and the Legion of Merit.

"My uncle was a kind and gentle man," said Ceragioli. "He was very inspirational." In a press release for the new scholarship, Ceragioli explained, "My Zio Rudy ... was one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was honorable, kind of heart, and possessed strength of character that bears emulation.

These qualities are amongst those that Tacoma City Ballet strives to instill in our students. It is with deep gratitude and honor for his service and the service of all United States military personnel that I establish The Lieutenant Colonel Rudolpf Ceragioli Annual Scholarship to Tacoma City Ballet School for children of military personnel."

Later this year, TCB will announce more scholarships for children of police, fire and paramedic personnel.

Tacoma City Ballet, 508 6th Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4219,

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