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EdTA announces 2014 awards, grants, and scholarship recipients

May 16, 2014


This year, the Educational Theatre Association is handing out more than $20,000 in awards, grants and scholarships. The recipients, valuable volunteers, talented students, and dedicated educators and school administrators, have made significant contributions to theatre education in the past year.

Scholarship recipients will receive their award at Thespian Festival 2014 in Lincoln, Nebraska this June. Award and grant recipients for Conference and Festival will be recognized on site. Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the 2014 EdTA National Conference in Cincinnati this July.

The Administrator’s Award recognizes outstanding school administrators who have demonstrated exemplary support for educational theatre. This year’s recipients of the Administrator’s Award are Debbie Garcia from Troupe 5191 at Alice High School in Alice, Texas and Denise Jennings from Troupes 6178 at Jefferson County North High School in Winchester, Kansas.

This year’s Honorary Thespian of the Year is Candace Dickens for her work with Troupe 6141 at Providence School in Jacksonville, Florida. The Honorary Thespian of the Year award goes to an individual who has gone above and beyond the standard duties of a volunteer for the International Thespian Society.

Inspirational Theatre Educator Award recognizes up to three individuals annually who have inspired their students and dedicated themselves to providing quality theatre education. This year’s recipients are Blair Biederman, Troupe 5982, Mesquite High School, Gilbert, Arizona; Lucas Hewitt, Troupe 6598, Century High School, Sykesville, Maryland, and Marydell Merrill Troupe 7186, Classical Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Educational Theatre Association Outstanding School Award is given annually to up to twelve high schools with theatre programs that exemplify and promote high standards in educational theatre. The 2014 recipients are Riverton High School in Riverton, Utah, home to Troupe 6009; Denver School of the Arts in Denver, Colorado, home to Troupe 5869, and Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colorado, home to Troupe 4126.

Jessica Johnson (Troupe 6745; Damonte Ranch High School; Reno, Nevada ) and Amelia Lux (Troupe 5952; Savannah Arts Academy; Savannah, Georgia) have been awarded the Jhon Marshall / ITO Outstanding Student Achievement Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship is given to two graduating seniors who exemplify the ideals of the International Thespian Society.

Kim Albanowsky (Troupe 830; Pennsbury High School – East; Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania) has received the Leadership Grant, created by Joe Burnsworth, a former president of the Educational Theatre Association board of directors. The grant provides registration and travel expenses for one student to attend the International Thespian Festival. Qualifying students have demonstrated leadership through Thespian activities by being a troupe or state/chapter officer by having previously participated in the leadership-training program at Festival.

The Doug Finney Festival Grant is given annually to four high school juniors or seniors who are inducted members of ITS. The grant covers the basic Festival registration fee and reimburses travel expenses up to an amount set at the beginning of each school year. Recipients this year include Samantha Rose Landau (Troupe 461; Smokey Hill High School; Aurora, Colorado); Rylie Cheyenne Farrar (Troupe 6178; Jefferson County North High School; Winchester, Kansas); Jennings Elizabeth Johnson (Troupe 340; Searcy High School; Searcy, Arizona), and Denton Lee Williams (Troupe 7176; Richmond High School; Richmond, Missouri).

The Educational Theatre Association Presidents’ Leadership Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship created with donations from and in honor of past and current EdTA board presidents. This scholarship is intended for inducted Thespians who successfully demonstrate leadership abilities. Emphasis is placed on the student’s troupe involvement and demonstrated leadership abilities and experiences both in and out of school. Applicants do not have to major in theatre in college. Katherine Ansley Siegel (Troupe 4590; Randolph High School; Huntsville, Alabama) has received the 2014 President’s Leadership Scholarship.

The Bob and Marti Fowler Future Theatre Educator Scholarship is a one-time award of $1,500 to a student pursuing a theatre education major and demonstrates leadership qualities, an excellent work ethic, the ability to work effectively as a member of a production team, strong character, academic ability, organizational skills, and experience in different aspects of theatre. Caleigh Havansek (Troupe 1714; Niles West High School; Skokie, Illinois) has received this year’s scholarship.

Tess Webster (Troupe 6300; Centennial High School; Columbus, Ohio), has been awarded the Austin Yeatman Technical Theatre Scholarship, a one-time $1,000 scholarship for a graduating senior studying technical theatre in college.

EdTA inducts up to five professional members into the EdTA Hall of Fame annually. This year Larry Daw from Tigard, Oregon; Scott Walker from Milwaukie, Oregon, and Kerry Onxley from Lake Charles, Louisiana will be inducted into the EdTA Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame inductees have dedicated twenty or more years to promoting and working for educational theatre.

EdTA has awarded six National Conference Grants: four for Theatre Educators pursuing a career in Theatre Education and two for Pre-Professional members pursuing an undergraduate degree in theatre education. National Conference Grants cover the basic Conference registration fee as well as one professional development institute session. Professional recipients include Troy Taylor, 7589, Hueytown High School, Warrior, Alabama; Kristina Cummins, Troupe 4058, Capital High School, Olympia, Washington; Richard Osann, Troupe 211, Bonney Eagle High School, Standish, Maine, and Derreck Reed, Troupe 7036, Arvin High School, Arvin, California. Pre-Professional recipients are Spencer Spotts from Colorado College and Corey Ragan from Wittenberg College.