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Middle school thespians win honors at festival
Students from Lakeside Middle School recently earned acclaim at the 2014 Junior Theater Festival. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

SOUTH FORSYTH -- Students from two Forsyth County middle schools returned home from the recent 2014 Junior Theater Festival with national awards and recognition.

Both Riverwatch and Lakeside middle schools earned several awards at the event, which was held in Cobb County.

Lakeside Middle School students received a Freddie G Outstanding Production award for their performance of “My Son Pinocchio Jr.”

The school was one of nine recipients from across the country, which carries the honor of performing a selection from the production during the festival’s closing ceremonies.

In addition to the production award for all 33 students in the show, Kristen Hall received an award for excellent individual female performance and Joseph Signa for excellent individual male performance.

Lakeside’s performance was judged by Lisa Mitchell with Disney Theatrical Group and Kenny Shepard, a dancer, choreographer, theatrical producer and professor.

“Lakeside Middle School is a group full of future stars,” Shepard said in a statement. “I can imagine so many of them gracing future Broadway stages.

“A highlight of the day, this group is polished, professional and fully committed. I was especially impressed with Joseph Signa, Lawson Gray and Kristen Hall; these kids are going places.”

Students from Riverwatch won a Freddie G Excellence in Dance group award for their performance of “Seussical Jr.”

The 42 students performed for Peter Avery, director of theater for the New York City education department, choreographer Karma Camp and songwriter, performer and musical director Rob Rokicki.

“The student choreographer was amazing,” Avery said in a statement. “This presentation was inventive and appropriate and told the story. These students offered some of the most subtle performances at the festival.”

In addition to the group award, students Katie Crabtree, Cara Flower and Danielle Heslin were honored for outstanding student direction and choreography.

The school’s drama teacher, Miriam Reynolds, was one of eight instructors to receive exceptional educators awards. As a result, she gets a trip to New York this summer to work one on one with Broadway entertainers.

In addition to the two schools, north Forsyth-based Ghostlight Performing Arts Company claimed the Freddie G Excellence in Acting group award.

The company of 21 students ages 9 to 17, presented selections from “Disney’s the Little Mermaid Jr.”