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Two awards were presented at the Youth Celebration this year:

These awards were presented by Kathleen Rudolph.

Youth Initiative Award – Colton Hartzheim

This year the RLT Youth Initiative Award goes to Colton Hartzheim. Colton is an excellent student. This year he received Academic Excellence awards in both German 3 Honors and Pre-Calc Honors. He is also serving as Junior Marshall this year, being in the top 30 of his Junior class. He is a member of the Key Club, the National Honor Society, and the German Honor Society. He is also Vice President of the math honor society.

Colton is also musical. He took guitar lessons for years – and actually played guitar for the TOS production of Runaways. He also studies voice.

Other hobbies include a LOVE of classic movies, French New Wave films in particular.

AT RLT, Colton has taken classes and been a Teaching Assistant for many years. One of his favorite fans is Judy Dove, one of our amazing Teaching Artists.

Here is what Judy says about Colton:

Colton has been a member of Storytellers to Go!, and has served as a T.A. for me for several classes. I look forward to the positive energy that I get from him immediately upon entering the room. He truly has a cheerful and positive personality and energizes not only the students, but myself as well, with his creativity and imaginative sense of play. Always fair, kind, and patient with the students, Colton never hesitates to participate, lead, and inspire. He is, at the same time, always professional and appropriate, and represents RLT well.

One of my favorite stories of how Colton goes above and beyond goes back to a performance at the NC Museum of History, before Colton was even old enough to be a member of Storytellers. It was our first performance; a cast member got sick at the last minute. Colton’s sister grabbed him and he rehearsed with the cast a show he had never seen, and performed it at First Night Raleigh. He is a true team player and my life has been enriched by his being in it for even a part of the time.

We are proud to give the Youth Initiative Award to Colton!

Youth Achievement Award – David Snee

This year, the Youth Achievement Award goes to David Snee. Two things have been apparent about David since he was small: his red hair and his determination to succeed at whatever he is doing. His parents can attest that if something was difficult for him, even as a toddler, he only became more determined to do it.

Not many people know that David is an excellent ice-skater and played a season of hockey at the Ice Plex in Raleigh, causing his mom and dad to have to get up at 4:30 some mornings to take him to games. I feel their pain, as I too have a hockey playing son!

Outside of theater, David’s next favorite art form is drawing. In fact, David recently designed the t-shirt for James and the Giant Peach. He particularly enjoys sketching wildlife. He also enjoys relaxing with video games like League of Legends and Overwatch — though they are less relaxing when he’s losing.

As a fifth grader at Conn Elementary School, he studied improv with Kellie Harris and appeared as Wise Prince Jason (a singing role!) in the musical “Doo-Wop Wed Widing Hood.” I actually saw the dress rehearsal and it was hilarious.

In the summers David has gone to acting camps at Burning Coal Theatre and Movie-Makers in Hillsborough, where he once gamely donned a blue leotard to play an invisible fairy named Frank.

David is currently a rising junior at Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh, where he has taken theater and appeared in several productions.

David started taking classes at RLT at a very young age. I have had the pleasure of working with him, beginning in 2012 when he was cast in The Adventures of Nate the Great. He was half as tall and just as adorable. And we recently worked together in James and the Giant Peach, where he played the Narrator – not an easy task with a 12’ peach and lots of video projections.

Judy Dove also had lots of great things to say.

David has been a member of Storytellers to Go!, often taking on other roles in addition to his own major role, when someone else was absent. He never complained – a true team player, he recognized the need for his help and he did whatever the company needed him to do. He has also been cast in mainstage productions at RLT, and has given freely of his wonderful gift of voice and acting to create the magic that RLT shares with the community. A strong actor, David embodies the “creativity of spirit, the generosity of time, the dedication to personal growth, and the enthusiasm toward making a positive impact” that this award is based on.

We proudly award The Youth Achievement Award to David!