March 17, 2017
Four students have been awarded the Doug Finney Festival Grant to attend the 2017 International Thespian Festival. The Finney grant is awarded annually by the Educational Theatre Association and its student honorary, the International Thespian Society, to four Thespians. Finney, the former director of the Thespian Festival who passed away in 1992, wanted every Thespian to have the opportunity to attend Festival. In 1993, the EdTA Board of Directors endowed a fund to support this goal.
This year's Finney grant recipients are Mariah Colby of Troupe 2258, Dexter High School, Dexter, Michigan; Baylee Robertson, Troupe 2075, Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, Louisiana; Joshua Smith, Troupe 7436, Prairie Heights High School, La Grange, Indiana; and Sarah Troup, Troupe 7342, Arnold O. Beckman High School, Irvine, California.
The recipient of 2017's Ronald L. Longstreth International Thespian Festival Grant is Jeannette Drigo, also representing Prairie Heights High School's Troupe 7436. The Longstreth grant, also awarded annually, is a one-time award for a student who is not a United States citizen, resides in a foreign country, and is an inducted member of ITS in that country or an active participant in a United States troupe if he or she is an exchange student. The grant is funded by former EdTA Executive Director Ronald L. Longstreth and enables its recipient to attend the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Drigo, a senior, is an exchange student from Malmedy, Belgium.
“We’re delighted to welcome Jeannette to Lincoln as the Longstreth grant recipient,” said EdTA’s Director of Educational Programs Nancy Brown. “As we bring more students to Festival each year from countries around the world, we continue to ensure that the International Thespian Festival truly lives up to its name.”
Another Prairie Heights student, John Claudy, has been awarded this year's Leadership Grant. The grant will cover Claudy's travel and registration expenses for the International Thespian Festival, including the fees for Festival's leadership training programming. The grant encourages students who have demonstrated their leadership abilities through Thespian activities to further cultivate their expertise. The grant was created by former EdTA Board of Directors President Joe Burnsworth, who credits ITS with strengthening his leadership skills.