Awards lunch


Friday, Sept. 20
12:30 – 2:30 p.m
Grand Ballroom – Salons A-D

With the Inspirational Theatre Educator Award, EdTA recognizes individuals who have inspired their students and dedicated themselves to providing high-quality theatre education. Veteran theatre educators and EdTA members Richard FairchildRebekah Hess, and Alissa Vogelgesang will each receive this award at EdTA’s National Conference.

Richard Fairchild of Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Ariz., home to Thespian Troupe 320, was recognized in his nomination for his connection to students and dedication to their growth. He uses his 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, Va., 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, Ky., 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 her and gain support. Through the safe and positive space Vogelgesang created, 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.

The Educational Theatre Association recognizes outstanding individuals who have gone above and beyond in their role as a school administrator, demonstrating exemplary support for educational theatre. This year’s Administrator’s Awards go to: Jon Bullock, executive director, Redmond Proficiency Academy in Redmond, Ore.; Paul Griep, principal, Har-Ber High School in Springdale, Ark.; and Wade Norton, principal, Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Mo.

Executive Director Jon Bullock at Redmond Proficiency Academy, home to Thespian Troupe 7715, has fostered the growth of the school’s theatre department. After the program lost its previous location, Bullock secured and renovated a space for performance. He provides recognition, boasts about school theatre, and maintains contact with current Thespians. Bullock demonstrates support by attending every show with his regular seat in the school’s tech booth and has written two one-act plays for the school’s student-directed, staff-written class. Bullock also serves on the local city council and has assisted in grassroots advocacy connections.

Principal Paul Griep at Har-Ber High School, home to Thespian Troupe 7262, works hard to support theatre education, going beyond the walls of the school. Even in his first year as principal, Griep went above and beyond to display a commitment to students and the stories they might share. In conversation with superintendents, Griep gives a voice to the program’s students and staff. He has brainstormed with the department for fundraising efforts and opportunities in the community and has reached out to feeder schools — to build other programs and help those schools grow. Griep has also allowed Har-Ber to host a statewide One-Act Festival and Junior Festival.

Principal Wade Norton at Smith-Cotton High School, home to Thespian Troupe 4261, is dedicated to the needs of his students. He has maintained a strong relationship with the theatre program since becoming principal in 2013. His support for theatre education is evident in his words and actions, as he attends both performances and rehearsals. Principal Norton has also worked to improve the financial support of productions, enabling the tremendous growth from one production every other year to seven productions in the 2018-19 school year. He sees the value of theatre, both on stage and off, and continually works to support any path that his students may take after graduation.