Makena Helms wins first Doug Geiger Scholarship from On Stage

Press release from On Stage

George Walton Academy graduate will attend Georgia State

Makena Helms, left, accepts the Doug Geiger Scholarship Award from Paula Gerhardt, board vice chairman of On Stage, Monroe’s community theater. Photo Credit: Amanda Rempe

MONROE, Ga. – On Stage, Monroe’s community theater, has awarded its first annual Doug Geiger Memorial College Scholarship to Makena Helms, a 2021 graduate of George Walton Academy.

Ms. Helms, 18, daughter of Barry and Nicole Helms of Winder, received the $500 award that will be given annually in memory of Doug Geiger (1942-2021), who for many years worked tirelessly as an actor, advocate and promoter for On Stage.

Ms. Helms will use the award as a freshman film major at Georgia State University.

“I’ll be majoring in film and Georgia State has a fantastic program,“ she said. “It’s in the middle of everything, with Atlanta being a hub for filmmaking these days. It’s like my future is going to be in my own backyard.”

She began acting in “Oliver Twist” at On Stage, under the direction of Paula Gerhardt, vice president of On Stage Board of Directors, and also appeared in On Stage’s double feature – merging Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz — presented earlier this year.

“When I first saw Makena on stage, I was blown away that so much talent could be in one person,” Ms. Gerhardt said. “Then I met Makena and found that her heart, kindness, and authenticity even outshine her immense talent.

“The world better be ready – Makena is about to take you by storm!” Ms. Gerhardt said.

The Doug Geiger College Scholarship will be awarded annually to a high school graduate who has been accepted to college and who has participated in one of the theater’s productions. Applicants this year were asked to write a 500-word essay. The theater’s education committee, composed of the On Stage board of directors, makes the final selection.

ABOUT ON STAGE: Organized as On Stage Walton in 1971 “to bring a little culture to our town,” the theater moved in 1975 to the current On Stage Playhouse in the old Monroe Primitive Baptist Church, built in 1910.  On Stage holds summer workshops for adults and youths. The theater helps support a 501c3 organization. For more information: 

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