May 3, 2017
The International Thespian Society annually recognizes up to three individuals who have inspired their students and dedicated themselves to providing high quality theatre education. Only inducted Thespians or Junior Thespians may nominate an educator. This year, the awards go to: Claire LaNicca, Mother of Mercy High School, Cincinnati, Ohio; Dr. Christin Pirkle, Lexington (South Carolina) High School; and Daniel Stowell, Dublin (Ohio) Coffman High School.
Claire LaNicca is director of Troupe 3803. She encourages her students to be not only the best actors but also the best people they can possibly be. She sets high expectations for her shows and trusts her students to live up to them. LaNicca is recognized for her knowledge in all areas of theatre, from lighting to costumes to acting.
Makensie Neville, who nominated LaNicca, says, “Because of Ms. LaNicca, I have become a better person to my friends, to my family, but most importantly, to myself. She has taught me how to love and believe in myself, both onstage and off. This is a feat I never thought I would be able to accomplish. Ms. LaNicca also creates such a loving environment at our school. She is the teacher that students can go to if they’re having problems with school or they need help with an audition, etc. Every single one of her students would agree that she has helped them in some way, either on the stage as a performer, backstage as a crew member, or completely off stage as a human being.”
Dr. Christin Pirkle is director of Troupe 4182 and the only theatre teacher at her school. She is responsible for all levels of theatre and strives to offer all students the opportunity to perform onstage. Dr. Pirkle designs and helps builds sets and has directed more than 50 performances this year alone.
Liam Myhill, who nominated Dr. Pirkle, says, “She places a beautiful faith in her students that I have not experienced in any other program and likely never will. That kind of faith is what drives people to succeed, whether you’re a terrified freshman or a tired senior. It’s the kind of faith that makes people want to work for the greater good, not because they have to but purely because they want to. I have never felt so rewarded in a program, and I pray that students continue to have the experiences that I’ve had. Simply put, Dr. Pirkle changes lives for the better.”
Daniel Stowell is director of Troupe 4100 and is noted for motivating his students to excel by believing in them. Stow, as his students refer to him, is responsible for seven kids at home and at least 50 more at school. He handles the stress of producing a show on little to no sleep and always remains calm, collected, and ready to lend an ear to his students.
Miranda Wolfe, who nominated Stowell, says, “I could tell you 500 different reasons that he makes an outstanding teacher and it still may not cover everything. His work has given me a voice, given me confidence, given me vision and insight into what and who I truly want to be. ... He has always been willing to lend an ear to my troubles if I needed it, and I have no doubt he would do the same for any student in need. Mr. Stowell truly cares about his students, and this is what makes him such a remarkable teacher and so deserving of this award.”