Every year the Joci Awards Scholarship Competition hosts “rising stars” from area high schools on stage at the Empire Theatre to compete for the prestigious performance art awards sponsored by the Las Casas Foundation.
This year, students from the North East School of the Arts (NESA), a school in the North East Independent School District, swept the stage and won 12 out of the total 28 awards and caused ties in two different categories during the competition and award ceremony on Sunday, May 1. The competition is open for any senior attending a San Antonio area high school. The 2016 finalists represented 12 different high schools.
Madeline Burrow, who won awards for Best Overall and Best Lead Actress in a Musical, and Travis Anderson, winner of the Best Lead Actor in a Musical Award, will travel to New York to be part of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. Lauren Campion and Madeline Jimenez tied for first place for the Best Voca” award, while Tamir Meishar and Preston Perez tied for Best Lead Actor in a Musical. These students are all seniors at NESA.
“The Joci Awards celebrates the performing arts and Texas’ rising stars. It’s exhilarating and exciting to recognize the amount of young talent in Texas, especially here in San Antonio,” stated Kevin Parman, president of the board of directors for Las Casas Foundation in a news release.
Las Casas is responsible for the renovation of the Majestic and Empire theatres in downtown, but the proliferation of performance art and education is another key part of its mission. The competition has awarded more than $689,000 in scholarships since it was founded in 2009. This year, the foundation gave more than $100,000 to local students.
More than 600 people attended the competition earlier this month at the Empire Theatre, according to Las Casas, and the winners were selected by a panel of six judges that included directors, producers and actors from stage, television and film.
“The competition for these scholarships is remarkable, so to win is a true honor,” Parman stated.
The winners for the 2016 Joci Awards Scholarship Competition are:
$10,000 – Madeline Burrow North East School of the Arts
$5,000 Sophia Bernard Douglas MacArthur High School
$4,000 Joshua Bippert Winston Churchill High School
$3,500 Sam Terry Keystone School
$3,000 Andrea Fuentes Ronald Reagan High School
$2,500 Elizabeth Taylor Ronald Reagan High School
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
$5,000 Travis Anderson North East School of the Arts
$4,000 Weston Smith Theodore Roosevelt High School
$3,500 (tie) Tamir Meishar North East School of the Arts
$3,500 (tie) Preston Perez North East School of the Arts
$2,500 Andrew Welch Lago Vista High School
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
$5,000 Madeline Burrow North East School of the Arts
$4,000 Gabriella Garcia St. Mary’s Hall
$3,500 Andrea Varnado North East School of the Arts
$3,000 Rachel Ryan Ronald Reagan High School
$2,500 Sarah Cosgrove Douglas MacArthur High School
$5,000 Anna Gibson Antonian College Preparatory
$4,000 Donna Wegert North East School of the Arts
$3,500 Elyse Echevarria North East School of the Arts
$3,000 Alison Bartels Ronald Reagan High School
$2,500 Sofia Leal John Marshall High School
$5,000 (tie) Lauren Campion North East School of the Arts
$5,000 (tie) Madeline Jimenez North East School of the Arts
$3,500 Brenna Santos Alamo Heights High School
$3,000 Katryna Marttala North East School of the Arts
$2,500 Anna Meyer North East School of the Arts
LINDA G. TILLERY/AT&T ESSAY AWARD:
$1,500 – Mattie Elizondo-Myers
$1,500 – Nicolas Rodriguez
Top image: Madeline Burrow, who won best Overall and Best Lead Actress in a Musical Awards, and Travis Anderson, winner of the Best Lead Actor in a Musical Award, perform on stage during the 2016 Joci Awards Scholarship Competition. Photo courtesy of the Las Casas Foundation.