Twelve students from Pittsburg High School Theatre in Pittsburg, Kansas, have qualified to perform at the most prestigious venue for high school theatre: At the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, in June! They qualified for the honor by earning superiors at State for Individual Events, One Act Play, and All-State Musical categories.
The trip will cost $840 per student, which includes travel, lodging, registration, and food for the week-long event. Students have been fundraising in addition to juggling academics, part-time jobs, rehearsals and performances, and community service. And then, the PHS Theatre program was thrown a bit of a curve ball.
Their director, Greg Shaw, suffered a sudden and traumatic head injury while preparing to leave with his students to perform in the Jester Awards Ceremony in Wichita, Kansas. The students, including his daughter, McKenna — one of those who qualified to go to Internationals — showed resiliency and determination by continuing on to Wichita, performing, and bringing home 9 Jester Awards, including Leading Actress for McKenna.
Mr. Shaw, who has led the PHS Theatre program to incredible heights in the past decade, has been receiving care and is recuperating, first at KU Med Center ICU and now at Acute Rehab. In his absence, and with his wife, Angie — one of our fundraising leaders — by his side, the members of Friends of PHS Performing Arts support group are doubling down to raise remaining funds to get his students to Lincoln. His motto during circle time before every show was "If something falls, pick it up. If someone falls, help them up."
We appreciate donations of any amount made in his name, or in the name of a PHS Theatre student you've admired from near or afar, or because you believe in the power of the performing arts and its impact on youth.
We thank you, our students thank you, and when he is back on his feet, Mr. Shaw will thank you!