EdTA recognizes individuals who have inspired their students and dedicated themselves to providing quality theatre education with the Inspirational Theatre Educator Award. Veteran theatre educators and EdTA members Richard Fairchild, Rebekah Hess, and Alissa Vogelgesang will each receive this award at EdTA’s National Conference.
Richard Fairchild of Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona, home to Thespian Troupe 320, was recognized in his nomination for his connection to students and dedication to their growth. He uses his own imagination to inspire creativity in the classroom, demonstrating the power and possibilities of theatre education. Encouraging theatre students to give their best effort, Fairchild also reminds Thespians to stay true to themselves. He pours his heart into theatre education and brings out the best in his students throughout the process.
Rebekah Hess of Rock Ridge Performing Arts in Ashburn, Virginia, home to Thespian Troupe 8104, was recognized for inspiring her students to achieve more than they think possible by constantly setting an example. Hess demonstrates positivity and maturity, even through hardship, and this does not go unnoticed to Thespians. In her spare time, Hess holds after-school dance technique classes, for free, to provide students a resource they might not have otherwise. She displays her extensive knowledge of theatre while remaining humble, and reassures students with an unconditional love. Hess has provided encouragement and opportunity, impacting Thespians both inside and beyond the classroom.
Alissa Vogelgesang of Carroll County High School in Carrollton, Kentucky, home to Thespian Troupe 8704, was recognized for encouraging students to break through barriers and become better humans. Vogelgesang impacts students from their time inside the classroom to long after their graduation from Carroll County. She empathizes with students, and offers a “therapy chair” in her classroom where they might open up to Mrs. Vogelgesang and gain support. Through the safe and positive space created by Vogelgesang, Thespians are able to build a family and support one another. Not only does Vogelgesang enrich the lives of Thespians individually, but together as well.