Tuesday, June 11, 2013

YATS' Lonnie Hass Scholarship Award Winners

Slidell Little Theatre proudly announces the recipients of the 2013 Lonnie Hass Scholarship award, presented by the Young Actors Theatre of Slidell (YATS) to qualifying graduating high school seniors who intend to study the performing arts in college.

Anna Rudesill

Anna Rudesill
A 10-year veteran of the renowned YATS program, Anna Rudesill is a recent graduate of Pearl River High School. Anna says her audition at Slidell Little Theatre at age seven changed her forever. Anna is described as bringing a “passionate involvement and kindness to her endeavors” with “professional communication skills.”
This fall, Anna will attend Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond where she intends to major in Communications with a minor in Theatre.
She is bittersweet about leaving SLT, which has been her summer home for 10 years. It is the place she believes where “magic truly does happen.”



Michael Pagones

Michael Pagones
At age seven, Michael Pagones used to watch YATS participants with envy. He couldn’t wait to be old enough to sign up! Once he was old enough, he jumped in with both feet and spent the next 10 summers in the YATS program. Michael is described as a talented young man with a “beautiful rich maturing voice” who is “consistently challenging himself.” He recently achieved the honor of Eagle Scout, which requires that a successful candidate “plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization or any school or community.” For his Eagle Project, Michael organized improvements the theatre stage at his church – a perfect illustration of his belief that “theatre is a team sport.”
A graduate of Slidell High School, Michael will attend the University of New Orleans in the fall with an emphasis on Film and Music.



                                            Abigail Marie Gardner

Abigail Gardner
Abigail Gardner believes that “you should pursue what you love,” and that’s why this graduate of Mandeville High School/New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) is heading this fall to Texas Christian University to major in Musical Theatre. Abigail is described as having developed just the right sized ego: “big enough for her to attempt this competitive life, yet not so large that it overshadows compassion for others.” A five-year veteran of YATS, Abigail is already looking past her successful Broadway career and sees a time when she will become involved in a big way at a local community theatre with the intention of inspiring others as she has been inspired.



Christopher Milligan

Christopher Milligan
Christopher Milligan got the “bug” when he was only nine years old. Described as having a “contagious, positive energy” that enters the room with him, those who have worked with him say Christopher is “committed,” “focused” and able to “handle tasks with commitment and maturity.” A graduate of Slidell High School/NOCCA, Christopher describes himself simply as “a starving artist pursuing his dreams. A member of the YATS program for five years, Christopher will attend Pace University in New York and study Musical Theatre, Acting and Dance.





                                          Valerie Aucoin

Valerie Aucoin
Valerie Aucoin says theatre has been a part of her life since she was a little girl and she can’t imagine her future without it. A graduate of Slidell High School, Valerie is described as “always prepared and poised for auditions,” and is “an example of where talent matches a strong work ethic.” A four-year veteran of the YATS program, Valerie describes her dream job as a performer at Disney World.
Valerie will attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg where she will focus on Theatre, with a minor in Library Science.





About YATS

Unlike any other children’s theatre camp in St. Tammany Parish, Slidell Little Theatre’s program is the only one to offer help with college tuition to its YATS graduates through the Lonnie Hass Scholarship.

Lonnie Hass is a Life Member of the Slidell Little Theatre and was a leading force behind the founding of Slidell Little Theatre’s Youth Workshop program in the 1970s, serving as its first chairman.

When the Youth Workshop program was restructured in the late 1990s, organizers envisioned a scholarship fund for participants in the newly-formed Young Actors Theatre of Slidell program.

As the YATS program grew and monies could be set aside, the Lonnie Haas Scholarship Program was officially established to provide financial support for participants graduating from high school and going on to study the performing arts in college.

Since the year 2000, Slidell Little Theatre has disbursed nearly $50,000 to local YATS high school graduates to help further their studies in the performing arts.

The YATS summer program is designed to introduce young people between the ages of four and graduating high school seniors to the stage through age-appropriate theatrical productions and workshops.

·        Mini-YATS: entering Pre-K4 through entering 3rd grade
·        Young Juniors: entering 4th grade through entering 5th grade
·        Juniors: entering 6th grade through entering 7th grade
·        Young Seniors: entering 8th grade through entering 9th grade
·        Seniors: entering 10th grade through finishing 12th grade

The Mini-YATS program engages children from four to eight for five days, during which they learn their lines, music and blocking, make their props and costumes if necessary. The week culminates in a performance on Saturday afternoon.

The older YATS participants are separated by age groups to form the casts of up to five different productions. The older groups begin the session by attending a series of workshops designed to expose them to some of the skills needed for the stage. Ranging from dance and voice to stage combat and culminating in auditioning skills they are ready to tackle the audition process. Often viewed as the toughest part of the art, participants are guided through their own audition in a supportive atmosphere designed to identify the individual participant’s strengths so the best opportunity for success within his/her particular play can be identified. All participants are then cast into appropriate roles. And the rehearsal process begins.

The Juniors groups usually perform plays written for young people that last in the range of one to one and a half hours. The Young Seniors and Senior groups stage full two act plays, with the Seniors performing a Broadway musical with a live orchestra.


Teenagers who participate during their high school years become eligible to apply for The Lonnie Hass Scholarship, which is awarded to graduating seniors who intend to study the performing arts in college. There is a fee for participation in the YATS program, with special adjusted rates for members of Slidell Little Theatre.

The Northshore’s premier community theatre since 1963, Slidell Little Theatre is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to engaging, educating, and involving members of the community in high quality theatrical productions. SLT is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.

Slidell Little Theatre – where the magic comes to life!

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