Battles with Cancer Help Set the Stage for Strong Performances by York High School Student

Battling cancer at an early age could not bring the curtain down on one of the finest young actors in Nebraska high schools. Participating in the arts helped Nebraskans for the Arts’ March Student Spotlight winner, Kalon Beeson, through the darkest moments of his life. It also helped him become a strong presence on the stage and in the classroom. 

Beeson, a senior at York High School, is active in theater, music, and dance. His accomplishments in school include:



  • Class B State Best Male Actor
  • 11 Best Male Actor Awards
  • 4 Best Supporting Actor Awards
  • York Theater 2013-2014 Outstanding Male Actor Award
  • York Choir's 2013-2014 Duke of the Year Award
  • 2014 Homecoming King

Beeson has an unforgettable presence on the stage. Described as a natural who was born to perform, his talent comes from overcoming many obstacles in his life and, as a result, he is wise beyond his years. Battling cancer twice at a young age, his body was unable to withstand the strenuous requirements of many school sports. When he was diagnosed with leukemia the second time, Beeson had to be put into foster care so that he could receive better treatment.

“Ever since I was very young I have been singing, dancing, and acting as different characters,” says Beeson. “The only light in my life seemed to come from the joy of the arts. It took me through the darkest parts of my life and has shaped me into a passionate lover of the fine arts.”

“Kalon has always been serious about performing,” says his mother, Lisa Menke. “I remember for his seventh birthday, he asked for a top hat and cane. As long as I can remember, he has been singing, dancing, and performing. Bringing joy to others through performance is his passion.”

His leadership qualities are what sets Beeson apart, says his nominator, York High School teacher Becky Stahr. 

“He knows how to motivate the masses for greatness. He sets a standard. Students look up to him on stage, in the classroom, and as just a person. He sets an expectation and he coaches each student to achieve the expectation,” she says. “Kalon is the first student at practice and the last one to leave. He is asking what more he can do. He is never satisfied.”

Beeson believes that participating in the arts has had a tremendous effect on every part of his life.

“The skills that I have acquired have taught me how to freely express myself. Being surrounded by people who have a passion for the arts has guided me through the most troubling of experiences,” he says.“I wanted and needed to find something that gave fulfillment to my life. The arts gave that to me. It was and is my channel of expression that gives me great joy in the times I need it most.”

 Says Stahr, “Kalon values every moment and takes nothing for granted. He feels every move and every movement has a purpose.”