Olivia Eafano Brenau Scholar

Brenau Scholar Olivia Eafano

Olivia Eafano has had an interesting relationship with music from an early age, not only because she loves it, but because it helped distract her from a childhood medical issue. She started taking voice and piano lessons at age 5, which was about the time she was diagnosed with uveitis, an autoimmune disorder that tricks the body into sending red blood cells to the eyes. “That was partially why I got so heavily into music, subtracting from the visual to focus more on the auditory,” she says.

The musical theater major from Lawrenceville, Georgia, had the “ideal suburban childhood.” Her family lived in a close-knit neighborhood that often gathered on weekends for barbecues and parties. “I attribute a lot of my drive and success to that, because my family and neighbors all pushed me a lot growing up,” Eafano says.

Her father, a native of Sicily, works in telecommunications with AT&T, while her mother is an editor at Aetna. While neither of them have much musical background, they always encourage their daughter to pursue music and performance. However, Eafano credits her twin brother, Luke, as being one of the most supportive people in her life. During elementary school when Eafano was going through multiple eye surgeries, Luke went to all of his classes to advertise his sister as a singer, which resulted in her going on “tour” at her school to sing in various classrooms. He is currently attending Georgia Southwestern State University, where he is majoring in economics and on the university tennis team.

It was around middle school when Eafano started to perform in theater. She watched theater on television and started doing small parts in middle school shows. She was involved in theater all four years at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia and taught a dance class at a children’s theater summer camp called Drama on the Hill. Eafano also was a national champion for individual music performance at the International Thespian Festival in 2016.

Initially, attending a women’s college intimidated Eafano, but, she has become comfortable at Brenau. “It’s such a tight community that works on building each other up rather than tearing each other down.”

She is involved with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, one of the main reasons she chose Brenau, and worked the soundboard for Crazy for You this past November. She is excited to learn more about technical theater, since it is the one side of theater she hasn’t been much exposed to yet.

Eafano joined Alpha Chi Omega and is looking forward to doing community service with them, including volunteering at domestic violence organizations. After graduating, Eafano plans to perform on stage in the Atlanta area, or perhaps teach high school theater, since she enjoyed teaching children during her high school summer camps.

Being chosen as a Brenau Scholar is more than just a distinction for Eafano; it is a frame of mind. “I always looked at it as these are the women who represent the integrity and a branch of intelligence at Brenau, as well as being academically inclined. So, I find it important to hold myself with dignity as someone who represents my school. I’m proud to be here.”

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