Tyler Benett was on a DREAM Charter High School study abroad trip in Colombia when he learned he had become the first-ever DCHS student accepted to an Ivy League school. “Everyone kept telling me to open my email [from Dartmouth], and when I did, I remember thinking, ‘wow, this is really my life,’” he recalls.
But even as Tyler reveled in his tremendous accomplishment, he knew pursuing his passions may mean a different path. A lifelong performer, he is part of the SCAN-Harbor Performing Arts Academy, receiving instruction in dance, theater, and singing from a young age. As a teen, the organization introduced him to the Garden of Dreams—a nonprofit that works with MSG Entertainment and MSG Sports to bring life-changing opportunities to young people—and his love of the stage continued to grow. At the 2022 Garden of Dreams youth talent show, Tyler wowed the crowd with a medley of 90s R&B songs, and this past December, he performed in a Knicks halftime show, opening the show himself.
“My biggest goal is to be an EGOT winner,” he says. “I know I can reach those heights. I want to do Broadway, be in film and television, and release music. I want to do it all and I feel I can.”
“DREAM has taught me that staying focused and determined will always lead you to bigger things. But being who you are in every space always matters.”
– Tyler Bennett ’23
Tyler’s love of performing and his desire to continue this passion motivated him to apply for a Garden of Dreams scholarship, with hopes to use the funding to pursue drama studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Though Tisch was initially out of reach financially for Tyler and his family, the Garden of Dreams awarded him $60,000 over four years, just enough to make it a reality.
Faced with two amazing options, Tyler knew he had a difficult decision to make—become DCHS’s first graduate to take on the Ivy League, or pursue a path at one of the world’s most preeminent arts schools. Tyler remembers DREAM’s support in choosing his best fit, which ultimately led him to Tisch.
“DREAM has taught me that staying focused and determined will always lead you to bigger things,” he says. “But being who you are in every space always matters.”
You can read more about the DREAM Charter High School Class of 2023 in the report below, and mark your calendars for June 23, when DREAM Charter High School will celebrate all the work of this amazing senior class at its graduation ceremony. Until then, follow along as we laud this class, tell some of our student’s special stories, and gear up for the big day.