Photo by Marion Vendituoli

Chesed Chap, valedictorian for the Patagonia Union High School class of 2021, plans to pursue a career in the theater, a passion she has developed through her participation in the Tin Shed Theater at the Patagonia Creative Arts Center (PCAC). Most notably, in 2020, she wrote, directed, and starred in an original adaptation of “The Catcher in the Rye.”

PCAC Director Cassina Farley worked with Chesed over the past several years.

“Chesed was always receptive to all of the ideas and concepts we threw at her,” she said. “She was the ideal kid to teach- always happy and grateful for the opportunities presented to her. The teaching artists at the art center can hardly take credit for Chesed’s success, instead we were blessed to have had her blossom in our presence. She is the pride of The Art Center and we can hardly wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.”

Chesed, the daughter of Peter Chap and Elia Manjarre, has a 4.4 GPA.She has been involved in soccer and tennis, served as editor-in-chief of the Patagonia Yearbook during her junior year, and has played in the school’s steel band. 

Outside of school, she is a member of the Arizona Youth Arts Council, an organization that focuses on arts education. She is proud to have worked to get the Patagonia Arts Center a $1500 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts to help fund the summer art camp and ‘Kids Rock’, an after-school music program. 

Chesed interned at the Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute (BECY) this past summer and is returning as a youth leader this year.

“I’m returning because I’m excited to grow with the crew as a youth leader this year; I love what BECY does and the way it teaches teens how to care for their environment,” she said.

“I’m going to miss my teachers a lot,” she said when asked what she would miss the most about Patagonia next year, when she goes away to college. “I’m just going to miss walking around and knowing everyone I see.” 

Chesed will be attending Yale University in the fall, majoring in theater arts on a full scholarship. She looks forward to this new adventure and is confident that she will thrive in this new environment.

“I’m pretty adaptive, I think,” she said. “I’ll be all right.”