What is the Joci Awards?

Las Casas Foundation’s annual scholarship program culminates in the Joci (pronounced JAW-SEE) Awards, a one-night showcase of talented performing arts students in San Antonio and the surrounding area. Since the program’s inception in 2009, Las Casas has awarded more than $790,000 to deserving students who excel in the performing arts, making it the largest scholarship funding source of its kind in the United States.

Who is Joci?

Jocelyn ‘Joci’ Straus, the moving force behind the restoration of the Majestic and Charline McCombs Empire Theatres, founded Las Casas and spearheaded the effort to raise more than $10 million for the restoration of both theatres. After founding Las Casas in 1988, Straus led fundraising and restoration efforts that allowed the Majestic renovation to be completed in just 11 months. She then worked to raise the funds necessary to restore the Empire Theatre, which reopened in 1998 after being dark for 25 years.

How much money will you award?

Las Casas Foundation awards more than $100,000 in scholarships every year.

I don’t think I have a good chance of becoming a finalist. Should I even bother applying?

Las Casas has made several refinements to the scholarship program so that any student who is interested in the performing arts can benefit greatly from the experience along the way. By applying, students have access to free musical theatre master classes, which assist students in repertoire selection and performance techniques. We are proud to be able to offer these opportunities so that every student gains something special from the process.

Can I apply in more than one category?

Applicants may only apply in one (1) category. We recommend selecting the category in which you feel strongest in competing.

Do I have to be a senior to apply?

All five categories (Vocal, Acting, Dance, Best Lead Actor in a Musical and Best Lead Actress in a Musical) of Las Casas Foundation’s Performing Arts Scholarship Program are open to students in grades 9-12. Please note that Best Lead Actress and Best Lead Actor applicants must have played a Qualifying Role in their high school musical during the 2017-2018 school year and an Intent to Participate form must be submitted by the teacher/director by Friday, September 30, 2016.

Do I have to be majoring in theatre, music, etc. in college to apply?

Absolutely not. Las Casas believes in the importance of the arts no matter which career path scholarship recipients ultimately pursue. Past winners have gone on to study business, communications, pharmacy and more!


If I’m selected as a finalist, am I guaranteed a scholarship?

Each finalist will be presented with a monetary award on the evening of the Joci Awards.

Do I have to be attending college in Texas to win a scholarship?


Can my scholarship be applied to tuition/fees at a community college?


Who is the scholarship check made out to?

Scholarships are made out to the college or university of your choice and under no circumstances to the individual applicant.

When are funds dispersed?

Generally mid to late July.


How do I apply to compete in the Best Lead Actor/Actress categories?

In addition to playing a qualifying role in an approved high school musical, students interested in applying in the Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress categories must have their teachers/directors submit an Intent to Participate form by Sunday, October 8, 2017 in order to have their production adjudicated. Students must then fill out an individual application; applications available Fall 2017.

Do I qualify to compete in the Best Lead Actress/Actor categories if I played the lead in a home school, regional, or community theatre production?

In order to compete in the Best Lead Actress/Actor categories, a student must have played a lead role in their high school musical during the 2017-2018 school year. These rules are set forth by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA)/The Jimmy Awards and unfortunately do not include home school, regional, or community theatre productions.

What if my role or musical isn’t listed on NHSMTA’s list of Qualifying Musicals/Roles?

Please contact Las Casas Foundation.

Why are eligibility requirements different for the Best Lead Actress/Actor categories?

Although the Best Lead Actress/Actor categories are a part of the Joci Awards, they are also associated with the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) or The Jimmy Awards. As a Regional Awards Program, Las Casas Foundation and the Joci Awards must comply with the rules set forth by NHSMTA for these two categories.

Are finalists in the Best Lead Actress/Actor categories eligible for the overall award?

Joci Awards finalists in all five categories (Vocal, Acting, Dancing, Best Lead Actress and Best Lead Actor) are eligible to be selected as the overall winner, which includes an additional prize of $10,000.

For any additional questions or clarification, please contact us.