A speech and debate student at Monett, Racicot said she was contemplating a career in teaching or exploring acting. Stephens College in Columbia is ranked seventh in the nation as a school teaching acting. She liked the college's small size, intimate setting and informal atmosphere, where students and teachers interact on a first name basis.
At Stephens, Racicot chose to pursue a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis on acting. She signed up for a three-year, two-summer course of study.
"During my first year I was on crew for several plays," Racicot said. "Each theatre student has to participate in six crews before they graduate, and this enables us to learn the technical aspect of theatre, like building the sets in the shop, handling costumes, running and controlling the lights and sound board. It's truly a wonderful experience in order to be well rounded in this profession."
Summer studies concentrated on theater. The first year Racicot spent in Columbia, and during the second, she participated at a professional summer stock theatre in Okoboji, Iowa.
"[The summer experience in Iowa] was the best acting experience I could have ever received," Racicot said. "We were given the opportunity to meet so many people and act in many great shows. I was cast as Shelby in 'Steel Magnolias' and got the opportunity to work with Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on 'Gilligan's Island.' She was an amazing woman and role model.
"I was also lucky enough to be cast as Laura in 'The Glass Menagerie,'" Racicot continued. "I was the only student cast and received the great opportunity of acting with two professional actors hired back for the summer. I also got to act with one of my theatre professors and dean of the theatre department, Beth Leonard. I have learned so much from her about myself and the art of theatre."
In her second year at Stephens, Racicot appeared as Marianne in a stage setting of Jane Austen's novel "Sense and Sensibility." Racicoat also participated in an independent film, "A Horrible Way to Die," directed by Simon Barrett, a Columbia native. Racicot said the experience introduced her to the process of making films.
During her last year at Stephens, Racicot has appeared in leading roles in "Lady Windermere's Fan," "Sealed for Freshness" and three characters in "Top Girls," opening April 11.
After graduation, Racicot has been asked to return to Okoboji to act professionally. Then she plans to audition for producers and directors for three of the theatrical companies in Kansas City and representatives from companies in St. Louis and Chicago.
"If I get a good offer from any of them, I will stay in the area for a few months and then I will move to Los Angeles and pursue my career in film and television and see where it takes me," Racicot said.
She conceded that acting is a difficult career but said she cannot imagine doing anything else.
"I hope to inspire people and make some difference in their life," Racicot said. "Every play or film tells a story and that story will relate to someone, somehow, and I hope that I have the opportunity to continue to inspire others to pursue their dreams and make a difference to those around you. The arts are so important to hold on to, especially in a world like we live in today."
Racicot thanked the club for the scholarship, which helped her to do much while at Stephens.
Racicot's parents, Denise and David Boyd, were guests of the Kiwanians for the meeting. Kiwanis President Eric Kean presided at the meeting. Jon Suit was the program chairman.
In club news, Kiwanians will have a service day on April 19 at the Community Kitchen.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays, usually at Happy House restaurant.