Social impact bat mitzvah: Alum’s daughter raises funds for Art Center scholarships

Hannah Megery creates a painting for each bat mitzvah scholarship donor

Hannah Megery creates a painting for each bat mitzvah scholarship donor

This is a story about how even a 13-year-old can, with a little creativity, make a big difference in the lives of others.

Eighth-grader Hannah Megery had yet to choose her mitzvah (Hebrew for worthy deed) project for her upcoming bat mitzvah when her mother decided to take her and her sister Madeline on a tour of Art Center. The girls’ father, John Megery (ADVT ’95), had recently and unexpectedly passed away, and mother, Laurie, wanted them to see the school their father had attended and loved so much.

Hannah and John Mergery

Hannah and John Megery

For Hannah, that campus visit sparked the idea to use her own creative talent to raise funds for a scholarship to benefit an artist with financial need. “My dad was very gifted,” Hannah says. “He could do almost any kind of art—painting, computer design, photography, sculpture—and he passed that love of art on to me. He received a partial scholarship when he was at Art Center. I thought raising money to help a student following in my dad’s footsteps would be a great way to honor him and to change a young person’s life.”

Hannah, a talented painter in her own right, then sent out an email to friends and family asking them to consider contributing to her cause. As a token of her appreciation, she promised to create a unique painting for each donor. The request triggered an outpouring of support—and a few surprises. A number of people who responded with donations confessed to having artistic aspirations of their own that had gone unfulfilled. “I didn’t think many people I knew cared that much about art,” Hannah says. “So many people identified with my dad’s passion for design.”

Out of that passion unfolded John’s robust career as an art director and copywriter at a number of advertising agencies, including Lord Dentsu, Saatchi & Saatchi, Team One and Deutsch. John also earned a number of accolades for his work, including a Cleo Award.

Hannah, who has her sights set on someday attending a college with a strong arts program, hopes scholarships like the one she is helping make possible will open up a career path similar to her father’s for a young person. At Paul Revere Middle School in Los Angeles, where she is a student, budget cuts have eliminated most art classes, including such electives as drawing and photography. Some afterschool art classes are offered, but they’re not free. “I hope my bat mitzvah project will result in exposing someone to the possibilities of art that my dad got to take advantage of so that person’s talent isn’t lost,” she explains. “It gave my dad a boost to know somebody believed in him. His scholarship helped him follow his dream.”

To learn more about how to contribute to or create a scholarship at Art Center, contact Maya Fredrickson

Students interested in learning more about the scholarship application process and availability of aid at Art Center may contact the Financial Aid Office at 626.396.2215 or


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