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UCS theatre students earn $3 million in scholarship offers, 84 awards at state festival
UCS theatre students earn $3 million in scholarship offers, 84 awards at state festival
Posted on 01/02/2020

Utica Community Schools students earned more than $3 million in scholarship offers and 84 top awards at the 2019 Michigan Thespian Festival.

In addition, a Henry Ford II High School senior earned a top award as the state’s best representative of the spirit of high school theatre.

More than 120 theatre students from Eisenhower, Henry Ford II, Stevenson and Utica high schools attended the annual festival in Detroit, held December 13-14. Approximately 1,600 students from across Michigan attended the festival.

Students had the opportunity to attend professional workshops, meet with college representatives, view performances and compete in events that were judged by college and industry professionals.

UCS students who auditioned for college programs received a combined total of approximately $3,057,580 in scholarship offers.

Students from all four high schools collectively earned 27 Superior awards and 57 Excellent ratings.

Henry Ford II senior Toni Gjerkaj also received the prestigious Tom Suda Spirit Scholarship. This is awarded to one student in Michigan for best demonstrating the collaborative nature of theatre, recognizing people matter, striving for excellence, and being the type of person others want to work with. 

UCS theatre students are under the direction of teachers Eric Wells of Eisenhower High School, Kirstin Carolin of Henry Ford II, Cheryl Jackson of Stevenson High School and Joel Kaczmarczyk of Utica High School.

Below is the list of awards:

Eisenhower High School

Superior Ratings

  • Rei Morina-Ago – Duet Musical Theater
  • Tristan Cacchione- Duet Musical Theater
  • Jack Sanitate (2 events)- Solo Musical Theater, Duet Musical Theater
  • Sydney Townsend (2 events)- Duet Musical Theater, Solo Dance
  • Clara Schmidt (2 Events)- Costume Construction, Costume Design
  • Madelyn Balog- Monologue

Excellent Ratings

  • Alexia Allagreen- Solo Dance, Group Musical
  • Tristan Cacchione-Group Musical
  • Maria DiPonio-Group Musical
  • Greg Kish- Group Musical
  • Rei Morina-Ago- Group Musical
  • Mitchell Williams- Group Musical
  • Emily Unsen- Group Musical
  • Madelyn Balog- Group Musical
  • Oliva Steele- Group Musical, Monologue
  • Carly Irwin- Group Musical, Duet Acting
  • Amber Ren- Duet Acting
  • Samantha Ludwig- Make up Design, Duet Acting
  • Isabel Hafner- Sound Design
  • Faith McGuire- Scenic Design, Group Musical
  • Lily Meyers- Group Musical
  • Jackson Sheridan- Group Musical
  • Connor Kline- Group Musical
  • Jackson Sheridan- Group Musical
  • Marian Terenzi- Group Musical, Duet Acting
  • Erin Abell- Group Musical
  • Addisyn Tokarz- Group Musical
  • Alayna Bolda- Group Musical, Solo Musical
  • Mitchell Williams- Group Musical

Scholarships Offers

  • Alexia Allagreen
  • Tristan Cacchione 
  • Isabel Hafner: 
  • Samantha Ludwig: 
  • Satbir Mangat 
  • Dominic Parziale: 
  • Addisyn Tokarz: 

Henry Ford II

Tom Suda Spirit Scholarship (awarded to one student from among 1,600 participants

  • Toni Gjerkaj

    Superior Ratings

  • Josh Sheets, Isabella Malta, Lexie Brown - Group Acting
  • Ian Bednarski - Solo Musical Theatre
  • Toni Gjerkaj & Jacob Yasso - Duet Musical Theatre
  • Caleb Robinson, Josh Sheets, Isabella Malta Group Musical Theatre
  • Johnnie Pastoria & Crystal Oparka- Group Dance
  • Theresa DeBenedetti - Theatre Marketing
  • Casey Kraczmarczyk - Lighting Design
  • Toni Gjerkaj - Stage Management
  • Sarah Fontana - Stage Management

Excellent Ratings

  • Aliya Droelle - Monologue
  • Adem Kurtovic - Monologue
  • Glen Hanton & Lexi Brown - Duet Acting
  • Angelina Roach & Akinnley Ackerman - Duet Acting
  • Aidan Miller, Hannah DiFalco, Maya Mullins - Group Acting
  • Jamie Butts - Solo Musical Theatre
  • Fernanda Hernandez & Brooklyn Berchulc - Duet Musical Theatre
  • Fernanda Hernandez, Theresa DeBenedetti, Abby Smolinski, Austin Cole, Elvia Doce, Aliya Droelle - Group Musical Theatre
  • Johnnie Pastoria - Solo Dance
  • Akinnley Ackerman - Solo Dance
  • Abbey Smolinski - Make Up Design
  • Kyle Smith - Sound Design

Scholarship Offers:

  • Caleb Robinson
  • Jacob Yasso

Stevenson High School

Superior Ratings:

  • Dayton Porter- Acting Monologue
  • Jennifer Hopper- Solo Musical Theater
  • Haley Rivard and Dominic Rzeppa- Duet Musical Theater
  • Riley Klumb- Short Film
  • Courtnee Delph- Lighting Design
  • Angela Sparks- Lighting Design
  • Sophia Yabut- Costume Design

Excellent Ratings:

  • Dominic Rzeppa- Acting Monologue
  • Nolan Ethridge and Mareo Butrus- Duet Acting
  • Noah Elkins and Amaryllis Hannosh- Duet Acting
  • Sophia Yabut, mareo Butrus, Nyah Fischer - Group Acting
  • Nolan Ethridge, Angela Sparks, Bobby Yaxley, and Dayton Porter - Group Acting
  • Gabrielle Caoagas- Solo Musical Theater
  • Makenna Delph, Gabrielle Caoagas, Courtnee Delph, Kelly Felice, Jennifer Hopper, and Makaila Seabridge - Group Dance
  • Makenna Delph- Scenic Design

Scholarship Offers:

  • Dayton Porter 
  • Dominic Rzeppa 
  • Haley Rivard 
  • Jennifer Hopper 

Utica High School

Superior Ratings:

  • Dez LaCourse, Gianna Bratke, Katelyn Butler, Jenna Calleja, Josh Essenmacher, Jennifer Holdstock, Gabriela Hotaj, Ali Jawad, Samantha King, Grace Leonardi, Mack Matheson, Brooklyn McLaren,Kayla Thorne, and Nevaeh Urban - Group Musical Theatre Performance.
  • Ashlyn Muirhead - Solo Dance Performance.
  • Parker Hopkins - Playwriting.
  • Katherine Phillips - technical presentation of her Stage Management portfolio for the fall 2019 play Puffs.
  • Ella Fullmer - technical presentation of her Scenic Design for the spring 2019 musical We Will Rock You.

Excellent Ratings:

  • Ali Jawad - Monologue Performance
  • Brooklyn McLaren - Monologue Performance
  • Aidan Huyghe and Ryan John - Duet Acting Performance
  • Alyssa Barocio - Duet Acting Performance
  • Gianna Bratke, Alyssa Baracio, Mack Matheson, and Nevaeh Urban - Group Acting Performance
  • Maria Chesnutt - Solo Musical Performance
  • Grace Leonardi - Solo Musical Performance
  • Maria Chesnutt and Morgan Nugent - Duet Musical Theatre Performance
  • Caroline McDade and Ryan John - Duet Musical Theatre Performance
  • Gabriella Hotaj - Playwriting

Scholarship Offercs:

  • Gianna Bratke 
  • Ali Jawad 
  • Mack Matheson 
  • Katelyn Butler
  • Jennifer Holdstock (UAIS) 
  • Dez LaCourse
  • Ryan John