Melody Herzfeld , the head of the theater department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, didn’t just win the Excellence in Theatre Education Award (EITEA) in 2018; she also won two scholarships to Carnegie Mellon School of Drama ’s Summer Pre-College program to pass on to her students.
Tanzil Philip and Ryan Senatore were the lucky recipients.
"I felt like I could do a backflip," Senatore said, describing the moment he found out he would be able to attend the prestigious program.
The School of Drama’s Pre-College program is a six-week intensive designed to give prospective drama students a taste of what it’s like to attend a conservatory. They attend classes for eight hours a day in disciplines including acting, music theater, design, and production and technology management.
Both performers, Philip and Senatore are now seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. They were excited about how the opportunity to attend Pre-College would help them prepare for their upcoming college application process. Students who have matriculated through the summer program have gone on to attend colleges including Carnegie Mellon, Julliard, New York University and Northwestern. Several Pre-College graduates have gone on to major Broadway roles, among them Holly Hunter, Judith Light and Billy Porter.
Philips spoke about how important theater education is in his life, giving him an outlet to express himself through art and song.
"The theater educators I’ve had have given me the push to tap into parts of myself that can help me to succeed as an artist and as a person," he said.
Nominations for the 2020 EITEA are now open. Nominate an educator today at www.tonyawards.com/education-award. Not only will that deserving teacher appear on the Tony Awards broadcast in New York City, but also will be able to program masterclasses with the faculty and alumni of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, as well as receive two scholarships to Pre-College.