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Emily Keebler won a scholarship to study costume design, planning to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree

SHERWOOD GAZETTE PHOTO: BARBARA SHERMAN - After getting her bachelor of fine arts degree, Emily Keebler's long-term goal is to work in films designing costumes for movies.Emily Keebler, who graduated from Sherwood High School this year, is embarking on a new adventure in September. She is leaving her childhood home in Sherwood for venerable Boston University to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree in costume design with a possible second major in English.

Keebler, who has never been to Boston, will be part of a university that at more than 33,000 students is almost double the population of Sherwood, which has about 18,000 residents. And the best part is that she was awarded a $49,000-per-year scholarship for four years that will cover her tuition.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity to go to Boston," she said. "This was by far the largest scholarship I got. I got accepted in three other programs, but this one was the most viable."

Keebler, the daughter of Joe and Liz Keebler, had to submit a portfolio of her work as part of her application for admission and the scholarship, and luckily, she has an extensive background in costume work despite her young age.

"I sent photos of shows I've costumed, original designs and concepts I've done, plus commissioned projects," she said. "I've been involved with theater for a long time. My dad is a drama teacher (in the Beaverton School District), and I initially enjoyed performing, but then I got into costumes."

Keebler learned to sew in the sixth grade during one trimester of a family and consumer science class at Laurel Ridge Middle School, which has stood her in good stead ever since. "My mom has a sewing machine, and I taught myself after taking that class," she said.

"I generally work on costumes on a volunteer basis. I worked on 'Our Town' at Sherwood High School and other shows in Sherwood. It's pretty fun but also can be pretty stressful. I have a pretty extensive knowledge of historical fashion, which came in handy for 'Our Town.'"

Keebler explained that because costumes are used time after time, all alterations must be reversible and not permanent.

And she shared a few secrets about what really goes on in the world of costuming. "They can be pretty beat up," she said. "Sometimes they just need cleaning and snaps sewed on. Technically, costumes are supposed to be dry-cleaned between shows, but that is not always done.

"Sometimes they are stained and don't smell that good. Washable costumes are washed every night, and actors wear undergarments that are washed every day."

Keebler had a couple of jobs with Broadway Rose Theatre Company in Tigard this year, which paid Keebler to work on its two summer musicals. She did alterations on costumes for "The Addams Family," which were rented, plus she worked on the costumes for "Gypsy."

"'Gypsy' had tons of jewelry and accessories along with the period pieces, which was fun," Keebler said.

As for her future after college, Keebler said, "Ideally, I want to do film costuming. For that, the costume designs must look good up close, but for theater they must look good from a distance under the lights.

"And Boston University has a Los Angeles campus with an internship program so I hope to be a summer intern there."

In addition to her academic and theatrical achievements, Keebler also is a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with a soft-tissue cancer when she was 4 years old, she had "very aggressive treatment" that included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, and she has been cancer-free ever since.

So there is no doubt she will succeed in her career choice, and movie viewers in the future might want to watch the credits roll at the end of movies, because they may just see Emily Keebler's name for costumes. Maybe even an Oscar is in her future.

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