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The Purple Clarion

Drake wins top theater award

Avery Woolard
Band and theater director Hannah Drake receives award at varsity football game.

Hannah Drake is the director of band, color guard, and the theater program. Last spring, she was selected as the musical director for the IIllinois Theatre Association’s Illinois High School Theatre Festival All-State performance. But the awards just keep coming. 

This year she has been awarded the “Illinois Theatre Association’s 2023 Award of Excellence in Secondary School” through the Illinois Theatre Association (ITA). 

Each year the ITA Board of Directors receives nominations for each award that they give. 

”It’s a panel of 12-15 people that look at the list, and then pick winners at the end,” Drake said.

Drake was surprised when she found out she had won the award.

“I don’t think I could have been more surprised about anything,” Drake said. “I was very humbled as well. It was incredibly unexpected. I had no idea I had even been nominated for anything, and then to find out I had been nominated and won all at once was very shocking.”

To be nominated, someone recommends a person for the award, and it is approved by the ITA’s divisional representatives. 

“I’m not terribly familiar with the process,” Drake said. “They ask for submissions and whoever nominated me talked about my work in theater and my involvement in the school, so all of that was taken into consideration.” 

The award is not given for a specific production, but as a teacher in general.

“It was as an educator in theater education,” Drake said.

The award is presented at the Illinois Theater Associtation’s gala. 

“I had never attended that before, so it was my first time going this weekend,” Drake said. “There were some workshops that went along with it, and then the award ceremony was over a lunch.”

The director of ‘Shrek’, which was the All-State show from last year, introduced Drake.

“She said some incredibly kind words,” Drake said.

Principal Scott Dewar reached out to drum majors junior Sarah Winkleman, and seniors Ali Hankins and Mary Beth Winkleman before Drake received the award to get her a gift.

“Since she had to travel to Chicago for an award ceremony, we decided to gift her with a Visa card to help with travel expenses,” Winkleman said. “All of the band and color guard donated $250 to this fund.”

Drake was surprised to receive this donation.

“I knew there was something happening at the game, but I had no idea what to expect,” Drake said. “That was incredibly kind.”

Hankins was grateful for the opportunity to give back to Drake.

“She pours so much time and effort into us, so it felt good to be able to give it back,” Hankins said.

Her students believe she was deserving of this award.

“She is super hard-working, driven, and passionate about what she does,” Hankins said. “She is always supportive of all of her students.”

Winkleman thinks that Drake is very diligent.

“Mrs. Drake is the hardest worker I know and was well deserving of this award,” Winkleman said. “She loves her job and it clearly shows through her work.”

She gives credit to the staff at Harrisburg High School for supporting her program..

“Our administrators are supportive, but also the teachers here at the school,” Drake said.

Drake gives recognition to the students that participate in the shows.

“Without all of them and their hard work along the way, our program wouldn’t be anything,” Drake said. “Everything has to do with the people up on stage. I just thank them for trusting me to be their director.” 

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About the Contributors
Sarah Girtman
Sarah Girtman, Staff Writer
Sarah Girtman is a sophomore and a second year member of the Purple Clarion at Harrisburg High School. After high school Sarah plans to attend college. She wants to major in education and eventually become a school teacher. Sarah is a member of White Hats, participates in Key Club, and she is in Youth For Christ at her school. She loves reading and writing, which is why she joined the Purple Clarion. Her favorite thing about it is writing, specifically feature and opinion stories. She also enjoys working together and bonding with other people on the staff. "When I came in here I don't think I'd ever read an actual newspaper article before. I just took this class because I liked to write. Being on the newspaper has challenged me in many ways. I've learned teamwork, responsibility, and how to believe in myself. I love this class and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Avery Woolard
Avery Woolard, Staff Writer
Avery Woolard is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her first year on the Purple Clarion news production team. In her free time she loves to read, write, and loves to listen to various types of music. She is also employed at Sonic.  After high school Avery plans to go to SIC before transferring to Colorado Univerity of Colorado Springs to study psychology. This is something she is very passionate about.  “Student journalism is important in today's day and age it gives the students a voice and the ability to be heard, along with a better understanding of what is going on around them all the time.”

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