The RLT Youth Awards for 2004-2005 were presented at the Cantey Awards evening on June 30, 2005. The winners were as follows. Click on the names to read their commendations.

Read Linda’s introduction.

Youth Initiative Award

Youth Achievement Awards

Youth Initiative Award Winners for 2005 – Stephanie Rahl and Katy Werlin

Youth Achievement Award Winners for 2005 – Amanda Stewart and Claire Wagner


Linda O’Day Young

“A man who has no imagination has no wings.” Muhammad Ali.

A life without imagination….What would that be like? The imagination gives us the ability to see our dreams, to ponder the unknown and to rise above obstacles. The imagination gives us the wings to carry us beyond fear, beyond poverty, beyond pain, beyond grief, beyond limitations of all kinds to a place where dreams are possible. This theatre is a place that imagination built. It is a place where we encourage each other to use our wings. Over and over again, people come together here and rise above limitations of time and money and energy in order to create fantastic stories, that challenge our minds, nurture our souls and fill our hearts.

I believe that we are all born with wings. We just need to discover them. When did you first discover your wings? How old were you? Was there a guide to help you? I discovered my wings when I was five years old. My guide, my Beatrice was my Aunt Emmaline, a fragile Irish woman with coal black hair and porceline skin, who danced and sang with me and taught me to write poetry. She told fantastic stories. The one I loved most was a story about the Faeries who dance around the moon. I couldn’t see them now, she told me but if I was very quiet and looked with all my heart when I was thirteen years old I would. Until then I had to simply believe. I did.

So every week, I would see my Aunt and every week as I was leaving she would kiss me and say, “To which Muse do you belong?’ I would say innocently, “I belong to you!” One day when I was five, she gave me a box filled with fabric, old drapes, lace curtains and such. She said, “With this magic box, you can be anyone you want to be.” The next day, I took out the blue flowered café curtains and put them on and became a moon faery for the first time. I think that’s the day I discovered my wings! Sadly, when I was seven I lost my Aunt to cancer but the gift she gave me has sustained me my whole life.

I consider myself to be a most fortunate woman for I am in the business of helping young people discover their wings! And when that happens, it’s magic! Wings! How wonderful it is to discover them! How even more wonderful it is to help a child discover his or her wings! And that discovery benefits all of us for when a child discovers his or her wings, that child can imagine a better world for himself, for herself and for others.

Over the past year we have granted scholarships totaling $ 7,700.00. Where does scholarship money come from? Some of it comes from Fund raisers conducted by our wonderful Parent Committee. Some of it is raised by performances given by our talented Teens of Storytellers Squared. Some of it comes from students who donate their tuition credits that they have earned by being teaching Assistants. Some of it comes from people like you who send in donations throughout the year or drop money into our collection jars. So the next time you donate to the Scholarship Fund, take the time to envision the possibilities. You won’t be able to see the impact you will have on a child’s life. But if you are very quiet and look with all your heart, maybe, just maybe you can imagine!

Youth Initiative Award – Lance Rappaport

Presented by Linda O’Day Young

Lance is unable to attend this evening because he is taking classes in Directing and writing at Harvard University’s Summer Program. Lance started taking classes at RLT when he was 8 years old and he has been working as a teaching Assistant for the past two years.

When I contacted Lance’s parents to let them know that he was going to receive this award, his father pointed out that it was the enthusiasm of another RLT teaching Assistant, named Patrick Baker, who years ago inspired his son to pursue further classes in theatre. Wherever you are, Patrick, thanks for the wings! I have worked with Lance as my teaching assistant, as a cast member for Peter Pan which I directed and as a member of Storytellers Squared, RLT’s Honor Society and Lance’s enthusiasm for theatre is inspiring.

Lance has appeared in the following RLT productions, Honk!, Robin Hood, New Works, Henry V, and Much Ado About Nothing. He’s also performed in Cary Applause Theatre’s Pied Piper, Jungle Book and Peter Pan. At school, Lance is a member of the Environmental Club and the Tech Video Club. Lance has also done film work with the Flicker Film Festival in Chapel Hill. As a service project, Lance is creating a documentary about the Raleigh Little Theatre Teens On Stage Program. I am honored to accept this award on Lance’s behalf.

Youth Initiative Award – Susannah Skiver

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph

The next recipient of the Youth Initiative Award is Susannah Skiver. Susannah is also unable to attend as she is on vacation with her family. Susannah has been taking classes at RLT since 1999. She has appeared in Tied To The Tracks, The Crucible, Henry V, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing. She has been very active in the Renaissance Faire and in Storytellers Squared, helping to raise funds for our Scholarship Program.

At RLT she has been an amazing teaching assistant. Teacher Maura Moore says, “What I’ve always loved about Susannah is her sense of fun and play and the fact that she asks the right questions which encourage the children to make choices without the fear of failure. She is a real asset to my classes.”

Susannah attended Cardinal Gibbons High School where she was very active in the theatre Department and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also taught Sunday School to second graders at her Church. Susannah will attend UNC Chapel Hill to study Romance Languages. It is a privilege to accept this award on her behalf.

Youth Initiative Award – Katy Werlin

Presented by Linda O’Day Young

Our next recipient first came to RLT when she joined a Creative Drama class at the age of 6. Over the past ten years, she has taken many acting classes, workshops and summer programs. At RLT, she has served as understudy in The Little Prince, Props Master for The Phantom Toll Booth and has appeared in Robin Hood, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Julius Caesar.

Outside of RLT, she has been very active in the NC Renaissance Faire where she is the Assistant Guild Head and the Director of Dance. She also participates in the Ren Faire’s Outreach Programs educating and performing for school children and at senior centers. For the past two years at Enloe High School, she has been very involved in the Drama Department and a dedicated member of the Gay Straight Alliance.

She has just completed her third year serving as a Teaching Assistant for RLT. I have been fortunate to have this young woman as my Teaching Assistant in Preschool Drama and I am impressed with her dedication, her focus and her love and respect for young children with whom she works. I am honored to present the Youth Initiative Award to Katy Werlin.

Youth Initiative Award – Nellie O’Connor

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph

Our final recipient first started taking classes at Raleigh Little Theatre eight years ago and has appeared in the following RLT productions: Tied To The Tracks, The Crucible and Henry V. She has been an outstanding teaching assistant for Raleigh Little Theatre for the past three years and has been an amazing asset especially in our Access Theatre Now classes for students with special needs.

As an Honor student at Cardinal Gibbons High School, she is involved in the Youth Ministry performing outreach services for the elderly and volunteering at the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities. She is also a member of both the Swim and Cross Country teams. She also performed in her school’s production of Witches. This summer she is a counselor at Camp Friendly working with physically impaired children.

Teacher, Maura Moore says of her, “She’s got great instincts especially about working with kids wit special needs. She doesn’t hesitate but jumps right in with both enthusiastic feet and that’s really important when working with special populations.” It is an honor to present the Youth Initiative Award to Nellie O’Connor.

Youth Achievement Award – Stephanie Rahl

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph

The first recipient of the Youth Achievement Award began taking classes here six years ago. Her RLT stage appearances include Jungalbook, Story Theatre, Robin Hood, As You Like It, How Reading Came Back From Nowhere, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Julius Caesar, and Much Ado Abou Nothing. At Broughton HS, she performed in Quilters. She has served as a Teaching Assistant for RLT classes for three years and has been a valuable intern for me this past school year. She has also been an active member of Storytellers Squared, raising funds for the Scholarship Fund by performing in the Halloween Trail at Durant Park, SAS Appreciation Day at Barnes and Nobel and at First Night. She also served on this year’s Teen Council, a group of teenagers asked to advise us on how we can best serve the teen. The Youth Achievement Award goes to Stephanie Rahl.

Youth Achievement Award – Claire Wagner

Presented by Linda O’Day Young

The next recipient of the Youth Achievement Award
joined the RLT family four years ago and lucky us, she brought her wonderful family along with her. This vibrant young woman has appeared in the following RLT productions: Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead, Robin Hood, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’S Nest, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. Outside of RLT, she performed in You Can’T Take It With You, Robber Bridegroom, Naomi In The Living Room, The Man Who Couldn’t Dance, Twelfth Night, The Mouse That Roared and How To Eat Like A Child. She has also volunteered with costumes at her school and at RLT and was a very important asset to Haskell Fitz-Simons when she was a rehearsal understudy for in Blue. This past year, she served as the Vice President of our Honor Society, Storytellers Squared and helped to raise Scholarship Funds by performing in the Halloween Trail at Durant Park and I Wish I Were a Butterfly and organizing and participating in other fund raising activities. Her energy is boundless. Her talent is inspiring. This Youth Achievement Award goes to Claire Wagner.

Youth Achievement Award – Kirsten Ehlert

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph

The next recipient of the Youth Achievement Award first became involved in theatre when she moved to NC six years ago. She took classes at Cary Applause Youth Theatre and performed in Charlotte’s Web, Anne Of Green Gables, Wiley And The Hairy Man, Midsummer Night’S Dream, Peter Pan, Alice In Wonderland and The Tempest. She also served as the stage manager for Applause’s The Hobbit. In 2002, she joined RLT, taking classes and appearing in Robin Hood, Story Theatre, Henry V and The Emperor’s New Clothes. She also appeared as the reporter in Handler at REP. In High School, she was an active member of Human Rights In Action and a member of the National Honor Society. “When she transferred to Raleigh Charter last year” her mother said, “She just loved being in Maggie Rasnick’s theatre class.” In addition to being a teaching assistant for RLT classes, this young woman is also a teaching assistant for the preschool Sunday school program at her Church. Linda O’Day Young says, “She was an absolute dream to direct in Peter Pan. She is a most dedicated, articulate and giving actor.” This Youth Achievement Award goes to Kirsten Ehlert.

Youth Achievement Award – Amanda Stewart

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph

Our final recipient of the Youth Achievement Award has been involved at Raleigh Little Theatre for the past seven years. She has appeared in How Reading Came Back To Nowhere, Macbeth, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, The Crucible, Henry V, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing. She has performed at the Renaissance Fair for three years. She was also a member of the Wakefield Tennis Team for three years. At school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, The Science Honor Society and the French Honor Society. She is the recipient of two National Merit Scholarships and an Academic Scholarship. She will attend UNC Chapel Hill to study Physics. She served RLT with grace and energy as the President of Storytellers Squared. I am honored to present the Youth Achievement Award to Amanda Stewart.