38 Fall Matters 2016 J Transatlantic Thespians CHS Parnassians play Scotland BY ELLEN DONKER Janet Bustrin never imagined she would take a group of students beyond the confines of New York City, let alone the United States. But on May 15 of last year, all of that changed. That’s when she received the news that Columbia High School’s drama club, the Parnassian Society, for which she is a faculty advisor, had been nominated to participate in the American High School Theatre Festival at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, said to be the largest arts festival in the world. Bustrin quickly understood that this was quite possibly a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity. She got right to work with the arduous task of completing the application – that is, after she absorbed the real possibility that she might very well be taking up to two dozen students on an international trip. By early June, Bustrin’s application was approved, giving her and the group one year to raise the funds, choose and develop a play and determine which student actors would join her for an unforgettable 14 days. After identifying that they would need to raise almost $100,000, she recruited a group of volunteers from the area willing to roll up their sleeves. Almost immediately, a GoFundMe page was set up, a wine tasting event planned and a rummage sale scheduled, along with other events that together raised much of the funding required.