EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSVHS STUDENTS SURPRISED
from Eyewitness News Online
Thespian Group Heading To National Festival
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Apr. 26, 2012 4:05 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 27, 2012 4:05 PM EDT
Huntington , Wayne County , West Virginia
As about 18 members of the Spring Valley High School thespian club filed into the auditorium Thursday morning, you could feel their anticipation.
When Julie Woffington, executive director of the Educational Theatre Association finally made the announcement the kids they are getting an all-expense paid trip to the national festival in Nebraska this June, their reaction was no act!
Student Mandi Butcher says, "I was so happy, I couldn't believe it!"
Theater teacher Stephanie Ward said, "I wanted to tell you so badly, but nope, I kept it quiet!"
Woffington and a few others from her group drove in from Cincinnati Thursday morning to tell the group they were the first ever to get a grant to pay for their trip to the national thespian festival. The group won a superior rating and first place at the WV Thespian Festival, but decided to forgo nationals because of the $17,000 price tag.
Woffington says, "These kids are accomplishing great things, so it's the quality of what they're doing, in combination with the challenges that they face."
One of those challenges is that theater teacher Stephanie Ward recently lost her sight. "Sometimes it's harder then others, but you know when I have my kids on the stage and I'm directing them, I don't know how I do it. I say it's divine intervention, because I know when they need to cheat out, or I know when they are not facing the audience, and I don't know how I know it, but I just think the Lord has put me in this position. This is where he wants me, so he is giving me the ability and the strength to do what I need to do."
She had her mother help her submit an application for a grant to attend nationals.
Now, it's paid off. She says, "To think that they're going to get to experience two plays every day, and workshops with professionals, and makeup people and professional costume people. It's a once in a lifetime thing, and I am just tickled to death that they get to do this."
Butcher says, "I love theater, and I want to major in it in college, so going to these workshops and seeing how real people perform, it's just amazing."
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