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Winter Class Graduates

Submitted by Elaine O'Neal on 12/10/2013

From the stage of the Randolph Theatre, the 11 members of the Class of 2013 – Winter resolved to “Go the Distance” in their final vocal performance at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. The students graduated on December 8, 2013, following a critically acclaimed run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

The graduates were sent on their way with words of wisdom from Dora Award-winning actor Jeff Madden (Jersey Boys). The graduates join the ranks of alumni who have distinguished themselves on world stages and screens.

“I was nervous about this day because … I have no immediate plans. …But if I have learned anything from our faculty nonpareil, and my ten compatriots, it's that hesitating on the ledge is often worse than the jump,”said valedictorian Jordi O’Dael (Flin Flon, MB). Inspired by her class’ final production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, O’Dael ended her speech with, “My favourite word, finifugal: hating endings, of someone who wishes to prolong the final moment of a story, a relationship, or a journey.”

O’Dael’s performance as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was singled out by Mooney on Theatre as one of “two emotional cores of the show ... O’Dael nails the character perfectly … [her]reprise of “Woe is Me” is one of the best parts of this production.”

Several awards were presented at the ceremony, including:

- Andrew J. Hampton (Homestead, Florida) won the Eileen Farrell Most Improved Award, which recognizes the student who has demonstrated growth in each discipline, overall work ethic, and potential to succeed in the business. Andrew recently played William Barfée in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee--a performance that won rave reviews from Toronto theatre critic Mooney on Theatre: “Andrew J. Hampton, faced with a character written for an actor with a very different physicality, plays Barfée as Carlton Banks, and succeeds.” Hampton's next project is the N. American tour of Hair.

- Phoebe Hu (Taipei, Taiwan) won the Triple Threat Award, which is awarded based on talent as well as growth, work ethic, and potential for industry success. Phoebe most recently played Rona Lisa Perretti in the class’ final production, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Hu will next be seen at the Next Stage Festival presentation of On the Other Side of the World.

The Class of 2013 - Winter also included: Jackie Rose Brown, Brittani Byrne, Jessica Harb, Annelise Hawrylak, Samantha Knapp, Matt Raffy, Shai Tannyan, and Mitchell Wedgewood.

From l to r: Darlene Spencer, artistic director, Randolph Academy; Andrew J. Hampton, Eileen Farrell Award Winner; Jeff Madden, Jersey Boys; Jordi O'Dael, Class Valedictorian; Phoebe Hu, Triple Threat Award Winnter; George Randolph, Founder and President, Randolph Academy.

Photo by N. Parenteau-Comfort.

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