When Jawuan Hill takes the stage, the audience can instantly see his passion for performing and all the practice he’s put in along the way.
"I’m a workaholic, I love that lifestyle," Hill, a senior at Colgan High School in Virginia, said. "I’m always doing a show. If I’m not doing a show, I’m doing a recording. If I’m not doing a recording, I’m doing something else."
That lifestyle also includes working as a manager at Burger King, a job the 18-year-old from Dumfries took to afford extra theater training and live out his dream of attending The Juilliard School in New York for drama.
His grandmother cheered him on.
“I always remember one thing that she told me is, ‘You know, you’re gonna go.’ She actually paid for my Juilliard application because she was like, ‘You’re gonna go there,’” Hill said.
His grandmother would stay up late to help him with his essays, even as she battled ovarian cancer.
She died in January, right as Hill was doing his Juilliard auditions.
"To deal with that pain and watch her go through that, that also is just something that fuels me and lets me know she fought hard and she wanted me to be successful,” Hill said.
A few months after she died, Hill got the news he’d been waiting for.
Out of thousands of applicants, his dream school had chosen him as one of just 19 students.
"Getting that call was one of the best experiences of your life,” Hill said. “You realize that you fought and you worked so hard to get here.”
But he still faces another obstacle. Going to Juilliard costs about $80,000 a year -- money he doesn’t have.
For that reason, Hill has turned to GoFundMe to try and raise the rest, in order to start the journey that could one day fund a bigger dream -- offering affordable lessons for young artists.
"I want to get to a place where I can help some of those people,” Hill said.
And just like that, the future star, determined to give back, pushes forward in his career.