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Katie Siegel's Blog

Thespian Festival 2014 is so close! I wanted to take a minute to give you a little information about each of the 2014- 2015 ITO Chair candidates. This week, they will be wearing different colored notebooks around their neck, so be sure to say hi!! 

Matthew Reindl is our first candidate! I have been so luck to get to know him some over the past couple of months. He is incredible kind and extremely passionate about what he is doing! I loved his response about his troupe director being his role model! Here is his awesome response!
 "
I can honestly say my role model is my local troupe director. Now I know that this is true for almost every single thespian across the nation... but if you take a moment to step back and truly look at it, you begin to find a kind of beauty in this. For one reason or another, our teachers have dedicated their lives to furthering an understanding of the world among young people. They teach us how to be productive, how to create, and how to relate to the people around us. And through this their legacy, all their wisdom, all their work, every experience that has brought them a deeper meaning of life, lives on. We become a part of a tree so to speak. Branching out, ever growing and expanding, enhancing the quality of life together through the care and nurture of the whole. A single flower can not bloom without the firm roots beneath it. Through my personal growth, my director has always been there to water and encourage the grounds at which I'm planted. He has taught me so many lessons, not only about the arts, but about living in the human condition. But three lessons really stick out in my mind... Work hard for the things you want, embrace your emotions, and the power of a positive attitude. He has instilled a sense of hard work and dedication within me, teaching that nothing is deserved. If you want something, you keep working to improve yourself until you get it. You can become angry and blame the world or other people, throw all the fits and become furious at how the world is unfair...but at the end of the day, the only thing you actually have power over... is yourself. He also taught me how to feel. Far too often as people, we try to turn off our emotions, stuff them down, internalize it. Bad, terrible, horribly sad things are going to happen in life. Don't let them defeat you. Take them and turn them into a positive experience. Attitude is everything. Life is about taking negative things, and turning them into an opportunity to learn, to grow! The fact that you feel pain and hurt are signs that you are alive! You're human! Work through these problems and you will come out stronger and a little wiser in the end! As long as you are putting positive influences into the world, you in turn will have a positive experience. He has taught me to give back in the world. Use your energy to create something GOOD. He has encouraged my romantic and idealistic view of the world, encouraging me to spread this influence. We are taught to understand and empathize rather than judge and condemn. I believe this is the power of art. It makes people more open-minded and understanding individuals by giving them the opportunity to take a stroll in someone else's shoes. He taught me that it's okay to need help, it's okay to be vulnerable. Break-down, cry, lay your heart out on the table. Embrace the human experience for all that it is. He teaches us these things by leading by example, the trait I believe is the trait of a true leader. So, Thank you David Spearman. You are and will forever be, my role model!"
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Many people that have been using the Community have made comments on how wonderful and useful it is, and I completely agree. I LOVE the Community as well, and I am fascinated by all of the different things you can use it for! We are about to use it in a brand new way!
Each year, those interested in being International Thespian Officers apply in the spring. This year, after the applications were reviewed, there were a group of semi-finalists who all had phone interviews. From the semi-finalist pool, the finalists were selected. There are 18 finalists, 3 for each position. These finalists will run at Thespian Festival in Lincoln to be your next ITO. In the mean time, we really want you guys to get to know them. We want you to know who they are and why they are motivated to do this! Because of this, we will be asking them a series of questions in the Thespian Festival Community. These questions are aimed at letting you get to know them! You will know it is a question specifically aimed at the candidates if the post starts with *C
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Hello! 

I just got an e-mail yesterday from a student interested in running for an ITO position. I thought that her questions were really valuable, and wanted to share not only the questions but the answers! Hopefully, this will help to shed some more light on becoming/ being an ITO for anyone who is interested! Please feel free to post any more questions below, or e-mail us directly! 


  1. When is the national thespian festival?
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This past weekend I was lucky enough to get to attend the West Virginia Thespian Festival! I had an absolute wonderful time and everyone was so kind and welcoming! I spent most of my weekend getting to help with fundraisers for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDs with Caitlin Louden. By the end of the weekend, we had raised $2000 for Broadway Cares! This was West Virginia's goal for the year, and they exceeded last year's fundraising by $800! To raise funds, we sold ducks, rings, bowties, had a silent auction, and had a minute to give it. All were very successful, especially the ducks which we completely sold out of! 



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I LOVE Jr. Thespians. They are so excited about what they are doing. They are extremely creative and always ready to learn. They are never scared of being themselves. 

Last weekend, I got the privilege of heading to Dallas to help with Jr. Festival 2014. I knew I was going to have a blast Jr. Fest, but I never imagined I would love it as much as I did! 

Thursday before festival started, we all arrived in Dallas. We all met up and the airport, and headed to tour Coppell West. Coppell's staff was extremely nice and I loved getting to see where we would be working all weekend! After our tour, we got an awesome dinner recommendation, and so we headed to dinner. It was an awesome time to catch up with EdTA staff and the other ITO. 



Friday was JR FEST DAY! We woke up, got some work done, and headed to Coppell to start getting ready! First, we helped sort t-shirts for registration. I was so used to helping sort t-shirts at different states, with the typical small, medium, and large, that I forgot youth small existed. Well... it does... and it is tiny! 
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I was lucky enough to get to attend South Carolina's Thespian Festival this year. Immediately when I got there, I was given a warm welcome from the chapter director, Joe Timmons. After we toured the gorgeous venue, I got the chance to start meeting students. I met lots of wonderful Thespians, and we headed to dinner together. After dinner, it was time for one acts! 

South Carolina has really strong one acts. Almost every school in attendance this year brought a one act. The excitement about the one acts was something really fun to see. There was a huge variety of topics chosen. I loved getting to see so many one acts and so much talent. In between one acts, everyone in the audience would sing songs or do different chants. I felt like this really fostered a spirit of community throughout the whole festival. I also got to meet the stage manager for the one acts. She was incredible and kept everything running smoothly all weekend. 

South Carolina also had a Broadway Cares Auction this year. Many students from Carolina Forrest helped to run this auction. I was very impressed by the leadership and organization of the auction. I want to give a huge thank you to that school for taking the lead on the auction! It was really successful. 
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The second I stepped off of the airplane, I received an extremely warm welcome from two Mississippi Thespians! Kathleen and Anna came to pick me up, and when I walked out, they were holding an ADORABLE handmade sign.  Though we had never met, we greeted each other with hugs and headed towards the car. Immediately we were laughing, sharing stories, and enjoying ourselves.

Friday morning, I got to meet the Mississippi Thespian Officers. They were all absolutely wonderful. We got to sit down together and plan their opening ceremony skit. We had an amazing cardboard cutout of a mask. We attached ribbons, and during the skit, as we cut the ribbons, everyone said what “Thespians is…” We then introduced the theme, No Strings Attached. After that they started it off with a wonderful one act and then everyone headed to Individual Events. I was lucky enough to time the monologue room. I got to watch some amazing monologues, and I was thrilled to see so many student performances.

On Friday, we met in our Circle of Friends for the first time. I LOVE Circle of Friends. Each delegate received one of six puppets. These puppets split them into their different groups. Each group received a bag of props to work with. We met many times over the weekend to come up with a 3 minute skit using each item in our bag. I LOVED this, because not only did we get to put on some awesome skits, but we all got to know each other really well. All of the techies also stepped out of their comfort zone, and acted!

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This year, the 2013-2014 ITO board was lucky enough to get to travel with our Adult Advisory board to Summit in Denver. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to not only get to talk with the 2012-2013 ITO and meet the chapter directors, but to meet with each other and discuss goals and values for the year.

We sat in on all of the workshops led by the previous ITO and got time to discuss with them individually. During meals at the hotel, we got to mix and mingle with the chapter directors. This gave us the opportunity to talk with them about their festivals, but it also gave them a chance to get to know us a little bit. This year’s board feels like Summit was a wonderful opportunity for all involved.

Under the leadership of Kimberly Staples, Scott Wilson, and Diane Carr we discussed and decided on the values that we wanted to represent our board this year. In addition, we decided on our goals.

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This year, I was lucky enough to be the ITO representative for the Maryland Thespian Festival. I was also lucky enough to get an AWESOME EdTA Rep, Mrs. Martha Louden. Mrs. Louden picked me up from the airport on Thursday night and we got to have dinner together before heading to the hotel. I love talking with people from other states and finding out how their programs work and their chapters run.

We woke up on Friday morning and headed to Huntingtown High School. This was the first year Huntingtown hosted and they did an amazing job! Though it was cold, myself and the STO ran out to greet the busses as they came in. Once everyone was registered, we started with one acts! Maryland had some truly amazing one acts. Unfortunately, I did not get to see their winning one act myself. I was lucky enough to see all of their costumes and hear the judges’ comments though. The costuming, hair, and makeup were PHENOMINAL. All of the judges had amazing comments as well. I love getting to see how many talented Thespians there are!

By mid- morning, the STO had already sold all of the ducks! I was extremely impressed.  After the first couple of one act, it was time for another fundraiser. This year, Maryland did something brand new. They had a “Trash Bag Competition.” Each group got different pieces of trash, a trash bag, and tape. They had to make a costume in 5 minutes that was either a hero or villain costume. Then, the audience voted for which costume they wanted to win by placing dollar bills in their buckets. This was such a cool fundraiser!

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When I got to the Minneapolis airport and met Jim Curtis, I knew I was about to have an even better conference than I expected. Jim, who was the EdTA rep for Nebraska, could not have been nicer. Once we got to the hotel, we got the chance to eat with Mrs. Dashner, the chapter director, and her troupe. I sat with her troupe, and they were some of the nicest people I have ever met. They were so welcoming and we had a wonderful dinner. After dinner, I got the chance to meet the thespians from Millard West. They were also extremely welcoming, and several of us headed to set up registration.

The next morning, I got the chance to meet several thespians at breakfast, and then it was time for festival to start. I loved working at the registration desk and meeting people as they came up. Then, I got to go to opening ceremonies. Nebraska’s opening ceremony was incredible. They had a fabulous skit related to their theme “Once Upon a Time.” All of the Thespians who performed were EXTREMELY talented; I was truly blown away. Then, Abbie Cobb, a Nebraska Thespian Alum, spoke. She gave a wonderful keynote. She is now working in LA, (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2796384/)

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