The following awards were presented at this year’s Teen Celebration and at the Canteys:

Linda O’Day Young Youth Achievement Award:

Youth Initiative Award:

Scroll down or click to read their commendations.

Some of our teens along with this year's Youth Award winners

Some of our teens along with this year’s Youth Award winners

Meredyth Pederson Cooper and Kathleen Rudolph with this year's winner of the Youth Achievement Award, Emma Heath

Meredyth Pederson Cooper and Kathleen Rudolph with this year’s winner of the Youth Achievement Award, Emma Heath

Emma Heath – Linda O’Day Young Youth Achievement Award

The Youth Achievement Award is the highest awarded honor a member of the Youth Program can receive. It is presented to those students who demonstrate a well rounded commitment to Theatre, to Raleigh Little Theatre, to their school and to their community. They are team players. They are creative in spirit, generous with their time, dedicated to personal growth and enthusiastic about the positive impact they can have toward making this a better world.

Last year we lost a very special person – Linda O’Day Young. She was our fearless leader for quite some time. Linda was creative, energetic beyond belief and a true advocate for teens. The Staff at RLT has decided to rename this award to the Linda O’Day Young Youth Achievement Award.

Warm, welcoming, level-headed, calm in a crisis, reliable, efficient, gracious.

All of these are words used to describe this year’s recipient. It is our pleasure to award the first Linda O’Day Young Youth Achievement Award to Emma Heath.

This year, Emma impressed the whole RLT staff by working on every single one of the eleven productions in the 2017/2018 season. Some highlights of her contributions to this season include: Stage management of The Tempest last summer, ASM for Crowns, Stage manager for Cinderella and Alice @ Wonderland, Follow spot operator for Grace for President, Assistant lighting designer for Don’t Dress for Dinner. (I know I’m missing some of her production roles because there were 11 of them!) And she did all of this while also stage managing productions at her school and serving regularly as a teaching assistant for Saturday classes.

Everyone immediately feels at ease with Emma in the room because you know problems will be solved and needs of the group will be anticipated. But Emma’s ability to make others feel welcome is one of her most important superpowers, and one that we have definitely appreciated having here at RLT.

While it will be strange not to see her in the building next year almost every day, RLT is thrilled for her next adventures. This fall, Emma will be attending The University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music as a major in Stage Management, one of 5 students chosen in the country.

Please join us in congratulating and thanking Emma for all of her contributions to the 2017-2018 season!

Jessica Soffian – Youth Initiative Award

The last Youth Initiative Award goes to someone who has been one of my most organized TAs. I was teaching a class where young children were learning how to put on a mini-musical. As I was telling them where to go during one of the scenes, I noticed this young lady vigorously taking blocking notes! Wow, I thought! This class is going to be so orderly!

This young lady loves art, writes poetry, short stories and fan fiction, and makes her own costumes for various cons around town. She also plays piano and has been having some fun doing keyboard for a Jazz Band with her brother. She just finished her first lead role at Cary Art Center as “Emma” in Yo, Vikings!. This summer she is going to be in NRACT’s Footloose after going to Italy for a 3 week Jump Start Your Singing Career program where she will get to work with professionals on vocals in musical theatre, art song and opera.

Susan Comer-Fisher said: She is thoughtful, creative, and enthusiastic. She is multi-talented artist who can act and draw beautifully! She always went the extra mile to make the kiddos feel at home.

This Youth Initiative Award goes to Jessica Soffian!

Zoe Watts – Youth Initiative Award

The first Youth Initiative Award goes to someone who literally has been coming to RLT since before she was born. Her parents have been volunteers here for a long time so I could say I’ve known her since before she was born!

This young lady began her RLT volunteering by working backstage on shows, 7 to be exact! Nate the Great, The Brementown Musicians, OPQRS, Velveteen Rabbit, Miss Nelson is Missing!, James and the Giant Peach, and Beanstalk the Musical!

She has worked on the set crew for Ragtime and Metamorphosis at Enloe High School. She was in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever here at RLT, My Fair Lady and A Charlie Brown Christmas at Ligon Middle School.

She became a TA a few years ago. Michelle Corbitt said of her: “She is a very supportive TA. She is involved with every activity and makes each student feel included and encouraged. It’s been a joy having her in class as a student and then working with her as a TA. My first time teaching story drama I was nervous, even though I teach preschool age kids daily. Zoe had helped with that age group before. She helped give me ideas and told me about how previous teachers ran the class. She was also willing to join me as we tried new adventures with the story drama students. It’s been a pleasure working with her as a student, TA, and on Raleigh Little Theatre shows. ”

Other tidbits about her is that she loves listening to K-Pop music, plays guitar a little, studied chorus both in middle and high school. And last Christmas she flew to South Korea by herself to visit a friend!

Unfortunately she could not be here today, as this world traveler is in Australia! This Youth Initiative Award goes to Zoe Watts.

Lexi Willbrand – Youth Initiative Award

Our next youth initiative award goes to Lexi Willbrand.

Lexi Willbrand has been a constant here at RLT for Wednesday classes as a teaching assistant. Always early, ready with the clipboard and eager to welcome students to class, Lexi is on top of it. She sees the value in organization and finds ways to support parents and students to ensure they have a positive experience in the education program here at RLT. In addition to being here almost every Wednesday afternoon of the school year, she was a frequent substitute TA, jumping in effortlessly for any TA who needed to miss a week.

Outside of RLT, Lexi is involved as a volunteer with Cary Teen Council and with the Cary Youth voices group. She sings with the women’s ensemble at Panther Creek High. She also manages her dog walking/babysitting business in the neighborhood and an Etsy shop specializing in personalized goods and t-shirts. She is also a member of NHS and is an honor roll student at Panther Creek High School.

Thank you, Lexi for your hard work this year as a teaching assistant!