Hometown: Harwinton, Connecticut
Major: Theatre Arts Design/Tech
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts Design/Tech
Activities: Newman Center, part-time work as a freelance lighting designer in the greater New York City area
Honors and Awards: Dean’s List (2015-17), Delta Alpha Pi International Honors Society, Sigma Alpha Pi Leadership Society, Who's Who, WCSU Theatre Scholarship (2016-17), KCACTF Merit Award for Outstanding Lighting Design
David Zahacewski has been drawn to the performing arts for a long time. "Since I was small, I have been on stage -- dancing, acting and playing instruments. When I was a freshman in high school, I discovered theatrical lighting design, and I became involved and in love with it ever since."
He tried to pursue his passion at Ithaca College, but withdrew because not only was the school extremely expensive, "I was not attracted to the design philosophy that was taught there." Zahacewski enrolled at Tunxis Community College, and graduated with an Associate Degree in General Studies. But theatre was still in his blood. "I heard about Western Connecticut State University from a colleague who had heard about the new Visual and Performing Arts Center. "After I visited, I was instantly drawn in by the friendliness of the faculty and was very impressed with the new theatre facility. I also appreciated the professors' attitudes and professional connections to the theatrical world."
Zahacewski says at Western, he found an important mentor who made a difference. "Adjunct Lighting Design Instructor Scott Cally taught me a lot about design technology and helped me get into grad school," he says.
Asked what he will remember most about his Western experience, Zahacewski says, "When I was able to design my first show at WCSU, 'A Christmas Carol,' by myself." Another highlight was a Merit Award from the Kennedy Center College Theater Festival. "I was not expecting any recognition for my work on the show," Zahacewski says. "However, having received the award, with the help of my peers, I believe it symbolizes and helps secure my future career in the industry. I am truly blessed by the opportunities and notoriety that I have received thus far at WCSU."
After graduation, Zahacewski will attend California State University-Long Beach to obtain a Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design.
Zahacewski’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "To all students, and especially freshman theatre majors, communication is the key to success and coffee is your best friend."