Youth Initiative Award – Charlotte Hopson

The RLT Youth Initiative Award for 2012 was presented to Charlotte Hopson by Kathleen Rudolph.

Charlotte began taking classes in 2006. According to her Mom, she first came to RLT as an audience member and immediately after the show said, “I want to do that.” She has performed in three Teens On Stage productions as the Crow in Charlotte’s Web, as Jackie in The Great Cross Country Race and as Goonie Bird Greene in last summer’s production of Gooney Bird Greene and Her True Life Adventures. She also appeared in other Youth Series shows as a Handmaiden in Merlin and the Cave of Dreams and The River in Jungalbook. She was also a member of the running crew for The Hundred Dresses. To every production, she brings a positive energy, a generous and cooperative spirit, a willingness to do the work and a gentle kindness that is contagious.

Charlotte attends Heritage High School where she appeared in their production of Camp Rock. She also plays Varsity Tennis and is in the Nation Spanish Honor Society. She has been a teaching Assistant for three years and since many of those were taught by Susan Meyer so we asked Susan to write down her thoughts about this individual.

Charlotte’s work ethic is simply amazing! She has shown me to be responsible, punctual, dependable and conscientious! She is also extremely respectful to all that she works with, including teachers, peers, students and parents. I cannot sing her praises enough in this area! If she had to miss a class that I taught she always attempted to get a replacement and she would send me a personal email or a text to keep me in the loop that she would not be there if she did not know ahead of time.

She has assisted me with my 5 year old class (Playtime Theatre) and my 7-8 year olds (Play On Theatre) and various other classes. During this time her work and interaction with the students has been nothing but superior! She helps me bring the shy student out of their shell and has very good boundaries when necessary. She is aware of safety issues at all times.

She has always been the type of TA that you always want to be the TA for your class! I know how excited I have gotten over the years to see her name on my Class Roster as my TA for that session… You could always count on a well taught class that would be a lot of fun and a great learning experience for all that were involved. As a TA, she would always strive to be the BEST Student in your class and she would succeed every time!

Congratulations Charlotte!

Youth Achievement Award – Tess Mygatt

The Youth Achievement award was presented to Tess Mygatt by Linda O’Day Young.

Tess has been involved at RLT since she was 8 years old. In addition to taking classes, she has served as a valuable Teaching Assistant for the past five years. Because of her impressive work as a teaching Assistant, she was asked to create and lead activities for the Teaching Assistant Training Workshop last Fall. Tess has also performed in numerous productions including the RLT Players production of  Once Upon A Shoe and four Storytellers to Go productions: Wiley and the Hairy Man, Red Vs. The Wolf, UBU: Just Be Yourself and she was the unforgettable GENIE in Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. For Teens On Stage, she appeared as Nanda in Ozma of Oz: A Tale In Time and Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. She also appeared on the Cantey V. Sutton stage as one of the girls in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

In last year’s Youth Series, she created the alluring voices of Leslie’s pigtails while also serving as the Production Assistant and Deck Crew Chief for Sideways Stories from Wayside School. She has also participated in other RLT volunteer activities such as set construction, ushering, helping with in between show meals, waiting tables at our Flapjack Fundraiser, assisting the photographer at Cinderella and performing with The Bread and Puppet Theatre. For the 2010 Teens On Stage production of  The Great Cross Country Race, she created the Gibberish Language used by the script’s humans and coached the actors using it.

Tess is such an outstanding ambassador for RLT that she along with her mother, Susan, were recently asked to accompany the RLT staff to the United Arts Grant Panel meeting where they spoke on behalf of the Youth Program. She is currently assisting Becca Easley, Sound Designer for East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

This amazing young woman graduated with honors from Raleigh Charter High School where she was a member of the Key Club, the Student Legislative Assemby, Model United Nations, Ideas Festival Committee, the German Club and the National French Honor Society. For a Service Learning Project, she designed and taught a 6 week course, Passport Adventures: A Journey Through Language and Culture where she introduced five Romance Languages to students ages 7-8 at the Learning Arbor Co-op.

In addition to all of this, Tess is an accomplished musician and has played the violin for twelve years. She was a member of the Symphony Orchestra for Enloe High School as well as The Triangle Youth Symphony. She was awarded full scholarships to the Triangle Strings Chamber Music 2011 and 2012 Summer Workshops. For the past three years, she has been a violinist for the Triangle Youth Philharmonic. This year she wrote and delivered a speech about the Scheherazade music the orchestra was playing for the Spring Concert at Meymandi Hall. According to her Mom, “She was so captivating like Scheherazade herself…more evidence of her RLT training and the confidence and poise it helped to develop.”

Tess plans to attend UNC Chapel Hill in the Fall, majoring in Linguistics and Anthropology with a possible minor in Education. In fact, she wrote her college essay about her gibberish language experience at RLT. She also plans on being involved in the chamber music/orchestra at UNC as well as theatre and dance.

I have known this individual since she was a little girl. She’s been my student, my teaching Assistant, a cast member in shows I’ve directed and a now a trusted creative colleague on production teams. Last month I was honored to attend her Recital at Kenan Recital Hall at Peace College, which she planned all on her own. She performed a variety of music as a soloist and as accompanied by her brothers and friends. I sat there in awe.. overwhelmed by her talent, her creativity, her intelligence, her wisdom, her passion and her beauty. Tess has a way of magically drawing you in, igniting your spirit and making you want to be a better person.

Congratulations, Tess.