The graduating senior class of Community High School's Drama Department, from left, Brandon Bush, Ben Woods, Tony Perez, Lety Pena, Patrick Kelly, Karen Potts, Tawny Helton, Trevor Frame, Justin Good, Savannah Lynch, Tom Meeks, Easton Horton, Cameron Richardson and Cody Baxter.
Chelsea Mills became the first freshman in the history of the Smokestack Theatre Group to win the "Best On-Stage" award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in the spring production of "The Miracle Worker."
Savannah Lynch received the Best Off-Stage Award for her work as stage manager and assistant to the director.
She received the award at the 18th annual End of the Year Show, held by the group at Community High School on May 7 to celebrate the work of the school's acclaimed drama department.
The evening included a banquet attended by more than 85 students, parents, and faculty. The awards show followed, including music and dramatic performances by students Shelby Henderson, Trevor Frame & Co., Aaron Gaines, Tom Meeks and Cameron Richardson, who reportedly drew rave reviews. Meeks, Richardson, and Lety Pena teamed as event hosts.
Chelsea Mills became the first freshman in 17 years to win the Best On-Stage Award.
Senior members of the troupe have compiled an impressive acting portfolio over the years, including comedies like "The Foreigner," "Steel Magnolias" and Neill Simon's "God's Favorite," classics like "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," drama "The Sting", and musicals such as "Man of LaMancha" and "The Wizard of Oz."
These moments were celebrated in a slide show honoring graduating seniors, and compiled by Brandon Bush which, "brought many in the audience to tears," according to long-time director Anthony Davis. Of the seniors, 11 were presented with the "Honor Cord," the highest rank of achievement for a graduating thespian which represents 400 or more hours of work in the theatrical arts. Cameron Richardson and Lety Pena were inducted into the theatre's Hall of Fame.
Tom Meeks, winner of the Best All-Around Award, is congratulated by Cameron Richardson.
The evening's other winners included Best Newcomer, Aaron Gaines. For her work as stage manager and assistant to director Anthony Davis, Savannah Lynch was named Best Off-Stage. Senior Tom Meeks was named Best All-Around. In addition, 12 students, mostly freshmen, were inducted into Troupe 5412 of the International Thespian Society.
"All in all, a great meal, great music, drama and memories were the order of the night," said Davis.