The Educational Theatre Association recognizes schools whose theatre programs exemplify and promote high standards of quality in educational theatre. This year only three schools in the nation were honored: Arbor View High School in Las Vegas, Nevada; Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Colorado; and Papillion-LaVista High School in Papillion, Nebraska.
The Arbor View High School theatre program, home to Thespian Troupe 6891 under the direction of David Kelley, was cited for offering an array of opportunities for students to become engaged with multiple facets of fine arts and gain skills to use beyond high school. They collaborate with the English department to implement cross-curricular studies for at least one show each year. In addition, theatre technicians from the program assist throughout the year for concerts, assemblies, and awards ceremonies. Members of ITS Troupe 6891 are held to high standards to promote a positive image of school theatre within the community. They frequently volunteer at the local YMCA and represent their theatre program in Nevada Chapter Thespian events.
The Lakewood High School theatre program, home to Thespian Troupe 1697 under the direction of Tami LoSasso and co-director Jace Smykil, was cited for the positive ways in which they contribute to their community. Teachers support the programs by either encouraging or requiring students to attend productions and review and reflect on what they learned. The program is closely integrated with the tech-education film program, where students routinely collaborate in the construction of pieces for the productions and creation of sets and costumes. The department was commended for its inclusivity and success in supporting students of all abilities. It has developed a program called the Unified Theatre program that provides opportunities for students with special needs to participate in the creation of a theatrical work. Troupe 1697 attends Colorado Chapter Thespian events and the International Thespian Festival.
The Papillion-La Vista High School theatre program, home to Thespian Troupe 68 under the direction of Molly Grasso, was cited for fostering a collaborative environment to promote comprehensive and innovative instruction. They have incorporated cross-curricular studies with the history, physical education, instrumental, English, and foreign language departments. Troupe 68 promotes school theatre in their community, volunteering with school and community organizations, and participating EdTA’s TOTS-Eat program. They work closely with the Papillion-La Vista Schools Foundation to participate in additional performance opportunities at ribbon cuttings, fundraisers, and more. In addition, they participate in Nebraska Chapter events and the International Thespian Festival.