New World School of the Arts Receives $100,000 from renowned drama professor, Jay W. Jensen

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New World School of the Arts
receives generous gift of
$100,000 from respected
drama professor, Jay W. Jensen
MIAMI---Respected drama teacher Jay W. Jensen leaves a bequest in the amount of $100,000 to New World School of the Arts, announced Mercedes Quiroga, Provost of the renowned arts conservatory, to establish an endowment for the “benefit of worthy students” as stated in the official communication to the school, dated May 1, 2008. The generous gift will be used to create an endowment to fund the creation and maintenance of “The Jay W., John W. and Thelma S. Jensen Endowment Scholarship Fund” in honor of Jensen and his parents. Through its “scholarship” designation, Jensen’s $100,000 contribution stands to be matched by the State of Florida, increasing its total potential to $200,000.
“This gift comes to us during a very challenging fiscal period, and all of us at NWSA are grateful for his [Jensen’s] thoughtfulness. Having met Jensen personally several years ago, I was inspired by his passion and dedication to his students. At NWSA, we believe that involvement in the arts can save lives… Jensen shared this believe and vision and dedicated his life to it” stated Quiroga, who visited Jensen along with more than a dozen NWSA college theater students. “Considered a master in the field of arts education, Jensen’s legacy will undoubtedly continue to touch the lives of New World School of the Arts students through this endowment.” As a symbol of gratitude, NWSA will proudly display a plaque in Jay W. Jensen’s memory.
Valued by his colleagues and admired by his students, Jay W. Jensen became a legend as an eminent South Florida drama professor, dedicating more than five decades to teaching his chosen field of study. He was born in Irvington, New Jersey and, at a very early age developed his love of film. His passion led him to earn an Associate of Arts degree from St. Petersburg Community College and, subsequently a BA in education degree from South Florida’s University of Miami. Jensen also had the opportunity to study at the University of Havana in Havana, Cuba and Mexican Culture at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico. In 1959, Jay W. Jensen began his 32-year career in education with the Miami-Dade County Public School System, teaching drama at Miami Beach Senior High School. Known as “The Teacher of the Stars”, his genius served as the basis for such celebrities as movie actors Andy Garcia, Mickey Rourke, Neal Gold, and Annabelle Gurwitch, movie directors Brett Ratner and Sara Sackner, music rapper Luther “Luke” Campbell, sportscaster Roy Firestone, casting director Debra Zane and visual artist Romero Britto. During his long career in the arts, Jensen directed more than 300 films, returning in 2006 to the silver screen with the award-winning film Class Act, an inspirational story of a drama teacher [Jensen] and how inspired thousands of students over the years. Class Act won First Place, Best Documentary, 2006 Rhode Island International Film Festival and Artivist Film Festival's "Spirit" Award for Best Feature film. After a courageous battle with cancer, Jay W. Jensen passed away on Saturday, February 17, 2007 in Coral Gables, Florida.
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts, is an educational partnership of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.
For more information please contact New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3502. More about New World School of the Arts at                 
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