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Ken Walters – (412) 268-1151
Pam Wigley – (412) 268-1047
Award to be Presented at the 2017 Tony Awards on CBS on Sunday, June 11th
NEW YORK & PITTSBURGH (June 5, 2017) – The Tony Awards has announced that Rachel Harry of Hood River, Oregon has been named the third recipient of the Excellence in Theatre Education Award. The Tony Awards announced the news with higher education partner and award presenter Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Harry, a drama teacher at Hood River Valley High School, will receive the award at the 71st Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The Excellence in Theatre Education Award recognizes a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession. A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry selected Harry from finalists across the nation. Harry will receive $10,000 for her theatre program, round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for her and a guest to New York City, and tickets to the Tony Awards and Gala.
Harry has been teaching students theater at Hood River Valley High School for 30 years. She built the program along the way and created performances that frequently sell out at the high school and a larger middle school theater with 1,100 seats. Among students and colleagues, she is known by her nickname, “Krum.”
“I feel strongly that my teaching should be student-driven. I want my students to explore and to reach and to fail, because all of those things — especially failure — will lead to new avenues of learning. And that makes for better people, more well-rounded people, whether you go into the theater business or not,” said Harry, who was an honorable mention for the Award in 2016.
“Rachel is an inspiration not only to her current students, but also to the alumni she continues to follow as they go out into the world. Her colleagues admire her for her selfness nature and for her work with her students. She is preparing well-rounded, responsible citizens for success in whatever fields they choose. She inspired us when we heard her story, and we are honored to present the Excellence in Theatre Education Award to her,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing.
“One of the best experiences we have as the exclusive higher education partner of the Tony Awards is recognizing teachers, who inspire students every day to go out and make a difference. We think Rachel is an exemplary role model,” said Dan J. Martin, dean, Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts.
A former dancer, Harry is a native of northern Wisconsin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and theatre at Central Washington University, where she also earned her master’s degree in theater production. In addition to her Hood River teaching position, she is an instructor at Columbia Gorge Community College. Her philosophy on teaching, she said, is that her students must be given the ability to fully and actively create their own successes and failures.
She credits her former mentor and high school teacher, Richard Webber, for guiding her toward the path she has taken in her career and life. “Webb opened the door to the possibility of, ‘I can try anything.’ And that’s what I try to pass along to my students,” she said.
Harry’s arts influence extends to her family. She has two children: Duncan, 21, a recent magna cum laude music composition graduate of Ithaca College in New York, and Tay Camille Lynne, 25, an Austin, Texas, film student who recently presented a short documentary at South by Southwest.
The Tony Awards will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 11, 2017. For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram and Twitter.
About the Tony Awards
The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. At The Broadway League, Robert E. Wankel is Chairman and Charlotte St. Martin is President. At the American Theater Wing, David Henry Hwang is Chairman and Heather A. Hitchens is President. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment are the Executive Producers of the 2017 Tony Awards. Mr. Weiss will also serve as Director of the 2017 Tony Awards.
Sponsors for the 2017 Tony Awards include: IBM - develops, designs, and hosts the official Tony Awards digital experience anchored by TonyAwards.com; Carnegie Mellon University – the first-ever, exclusive higher education partner; Grant Thornton LLP – official accounting services partner; City National – official bank of the Tony Awards and presenting sponsor of the Creative Arts Awards; Nordstrom - official sponsor of the Red Carpet; Sofitel New York – the official hotel of the Tony Awards; Rainbow Room - official partner of the Tony Nominee Luncheon; United Airlines – the official airline of the Tony Awards for the last 17 years and People/Entertainment Weekly – official magazine partners of the Tony Awards.
About Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 13,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.
Together with the Tony Awards, Carnegie Mellon University presents the Excellence in Theater Education Award. Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is the oldest drama degree-granting program in the United States and celebrated its centennial in 2014. In the past century, CMU has produced hundreds of Tony nominees and its alumni have won more than 40 awards to date.