CAHS play to honor fallen soldier

FLINT TWP. — A Carman Ainsworth High School Theater performance Saturday night of “The Imaginary Invalid,” a comedy by Moliere, will be dedicated to the memory of Army Sgt. Joseph M. Lilly, a C-A graduate and former theater student who was killed last June while serving in Afghanistan.

“He was a huge part of my program,’’ said DeLynne Miller, CAHS theater director, in a presentation at the school board meeting Tuesday night. She did some digging and learned that he took four different classes with her and performed in at least ten different shows.

“Ten years ago I did this play and Joe Lilly was in it,’’ she said of the reason for choosing “The Imaginary Invalid.” She had actually chosen another Moliere’ play but changed to honor Lilly’s memory.

The comedy performance is intended to be an upbeat and positive experience in celebration of Lilly’s theater legacy which his parents are aware of and approve, she said.

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night at the high school auditorium but all proceeds from the Saturday night performance will go toward establishing a memorial scholarship in Lilly’s name to be awarded to a CA student.

Tickets are $6 each and will be sold at the door.

Miller attended the school board meeting Tuesday night for a special recognition of current CA students who won several awards at the 2012 International Thespian Festival Competition recently held at Saginaw Valley State University.

Two of the 12 CA students who attended the competition were offered a combined $39,500 in college scholarship money, Miller said.

Michaela Nogaj, who garnered a superior rating in solo musical performance received offers of $4000 each from Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University and the University of Findlay in Ohio; and also a $16,000 scholarship from Siena Heights University, Miller said.

Kila Johnson, who earned a superior rating in solo dance performance, received scholarship offers of $7,500 from Rochester College and $4000 from the University of Findlay.

About 20 colleges present at the conference awarded more than $3 million in scholarships, MIller said.

Other CA students receiving high ratings in individual competitions were Dahlia Kassel, a CAHS freshman for excellence in playwriting; Alex Link, excellence in acting monologues; Sierra McNeal, excellence in solo musical; Taylor Brooks, excellence in solo musical and Kila Johnson, excellence in acting monologues.

Michaela Nogaj and Sierra McNeal also were rated superior in a duet musical performance.

“For anybody that has any questions about whether or not there is opportunity for scholarships in theater, there are lots of programs out there who are looking for good, solid students and I feel very honored that we have some of those students here at Carman Ainsworth,’’ Miller said.

Board trustee Don Conway took the opportunity to praise Miller for her outstanding body of work with C-A students.

He recalled at least a dozen of them, including his daughter Paige, who is now studying theater at Michigan State University, who have gone on to pursue careers in theater or the arts.

“I want to commend you DeLynne for doing a wonderful job,’’ Conway said.

“You are are having an impact on a very large percentage of your students when you think of how many students you have had who are actually following the path of the theatrical arts.”

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