Milo was Meant for the Stage
More than 30 current and former Scotts Valley High School Drama Department students reunite to sing songs from “Hadestown,” one of Milo Anima’s favorite musicals, during his Celebration of Life on June 7 at Cabrillo College’s Crocker Theater. (Contributed)

Last Friday, June 7, about 700 people—550 on-site and 150 by live streaming—joined together to laugh, to cry and to honor the too short but incredibly loving life of Milo Anima.

The Celebration of Life, entitled “Milo was Meant for the Stage,” was held at Cabrillo College’s Crocker Theater. That day the theater was filled with many Scotts Valley students and families as well as travelers from all over the country who came to honor Anima.

Anima, who passed away May 12, loved acting and was able to act in every play offered during his years at Scotts Valley High School. He even had a small role in an independent film by the time he reached high school age.

To honor Anima’s love of the stage, each attendee received two keepsakes—a Playbill-style program as well as a printed ticket for the event.

Anima also loved being a compassionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ youth. As a transgender young man, 17-year-old Anima was already supporting transgender youth and other students through the Scotts Valley Unified School District’s Cross-Age Tutor Program.

“He was the best brother,” said Anima’s younger brother Henry. “He would come home from school and tell me funny stories and stuff.”

Milo was Meant for the Stage
Milo Anima loved acting and was able to act in every play offered during his years at Scotts Valley High School. (Contributed)

Anima was loved by many people at his school, especially those involved in the theater department and those involved with the annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser—the Scotts Valley High School Haunted House.

“He was my emotional support person,” said multiple Scotts Valley theater students who had been in many high school plays with Anima. “He gave the best hugs.”

Kendra Kannegaard, the Drama Department chair at Scotts Valley High School, worked with about 50 current and former Drama students as well as Crocker Theater technicians for the event. The celebration was filled with some of Anima’s favorite songs, many loving and funny stories, and numerous tearful goodbyes for a life gone far too soon.

“I didn’t really believe in the Ghost Light before Milo,” Kannegaard said.

The Ghost Light has a few different meanings to different people. It is a single light left on in a dark theater after performances. Some believe it is meant to chase dark spirits away, but others believe that it is a warm light left on to be inviting to the ghosts of actors.

“Now, because of Milo, I do believe in the Ghost Light,” said Kannegaard, as she tried to hold back her tears. “We will always leave the Ghost Light on for you, Milo.”

Milo was Meant for the Stage
Cooper Herendeen plays songs from The Decemberists, Milo Anima’s favorite band. (Contributed)

The outpouring of love and support for Anima has also led to another way to honor his memory. 

The Milo Anima Legacy Fund has been arranged by the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County to continue Anima’s legacy as an actor and an activist. The plan is to use funds to provide such things as equipment for student theater programs and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Funds like this could bring a lot of joy to Santa Cruz County—and joy was definitely something that Anima loved and shared.

“Milo didn’t want money or power or things,” said Anima’s dad Mario to the large and loving crowd. “He just wanted everyone to be happy.”

For more information about the Milo Anima Legacy Fund, visit To support the Scotts Valley High School Haunted House fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit

Previous articleArukah Project presents 3rd annual Natasha’s Run for Justice this Saturday at Skypark
Next articleSV’s Quinn Turowski named the Press Banner’s Boys Athlete of the Year
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here