Few people know that Ashley Tisdale, who played Sharpay Evans in High School Musical and starred in "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," got her acting start at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Monmouth County in Deal Park, New Jersey. In June 2006, Ashley thanked the JCC by doing a benefit for the international JCC Maccabi Arts Fest, an arts program for Jewish teens ages 13 to 16. In her remarks to the 550 ecstatic, screaming fans who came to see her, Ashley talked about being grateful to the JCC for providing young people with an outlet to explore and develop their talents.
Ashley, who is Jewish, grew up in Monmouth County and appeared in a JCC production of "The Sound of Music" when she was 3 years old. She was discovered by a talent agent that same year at a local mall. Returning to her hometown was a way to express her appreciation to her adoring admirers, who were grateful that she came to visit. Now that's what we call hakarat hatov!