Group photos of the students who earned the theatre honors

Gainesville and Ronald Wilson Reagan Middle Schools recently attended the Virginia Theatre Association’s (VTA) annual Theatre Conference in Richmond, Virginia. Both schools competed against schools from across the state in the middle school theatre festival.

Gainesville Middle School’s drama club production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” earned top honors with a platinum rating at the conference. Along with this stellar achievement as a group, two of the cast members, eighth grade students, Rachel Fillmore and Sadie Lamb, were named best actors. 

"Theatre is so important for students. Not only does it expose students to different stories and perspectives, it helps build creativity, teamwork, and collaboration skills that are necessary for these students to be successful adults," shared Jessica Rodriguez-Snellings, Gainesville Middle’s drama club director.

Reagan Middle School’s theatre troupe was also honored for their performance of, “All the Ways the World Will End, but Not You,” as they walked away with a gold rating. Eighth grade cast members, Alysa Gerhardt and Roya Tasneem, received best actor awards for their outstanding individual performances. 

At the conference, students had the unique opportunity to visit college booths with theatre programs, attend interactive workshops, watch other schools and groups perform, and even perform themselves. 

Ysabella Nicastro from Gainesville Middle was thrilled to be able to attend the VTA Conference and perform at the festival. “At VTA you are with your people. (People) like you. They all have so much support for each other, " she shared. "Theatre taught me that I can be myself and have a free spirit. Theatre people are the best people you will ever meet.”