Each year, as part of its community outreach and mission to encourage youth to pursue their interest in the Arts, The Island Players provides scholarships to graduating seniors who have demonstrated excellence in some aspect of the arts and who have been accepted for the following academic year in a school of higher learning.
Four very deserving students from area high schools were chosen this year to receive The Dolores Harrell Scholarship in the amount of $2000 each. We are proud to be able to honor them and pleased to announce that the winners are Reese Bell, Anna Fleece, Marshall Knapp and Benjamin Lages.
Reese Bell has been acting since he was seven years of age which is why he decided to attend Manatee School for the Performing Arts where he demonstrated a true love for the art of theatre, especially acting. As a student at MSA, he studied theatre, acting, film-writing, directing and editing. An exemplary student, he was a member of the National Honor Society throughout high school, maintaining a 4.3 GPA. While in high school, Reese performed in numerous shows including “Into The Woods”, “Chicago”, “42nd Street”, “Night of the Living Dead”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “You can’t Take It With You”. He also wrote original stories, screenplays and stage plays which were juried at District and State Thespian competitions. A natural-born leader, Reese was an Officer in his school’s Ambassador Program, a member of Thespians and the Film Club.
Reese will be studying Performing Arts and Dramatic Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design.
Anna Fleece’s interest in theatre began as a young girl while taking classes at the Florida Studio Theatre and continued throughout high school. During these years, Anna trained by studying voice, ballet, tap, gymnastics, flute, acting, sword fighting and karate, in which she holds a Black Belt. She has performed in over 16 musicals and plays at Manatee Performing Arts Center, Manatee School for the Arts, Players Centre for the Performing Arts, Manatee High School, Center Montessori School and with Spotlight Broadway Show Troupe. While in high school, Anna competed in District and State Thespian Competitions for which she received Superior and Excellent marks. In addition to theatre, she has a strong history of community service, working; as a church nursery assistant, with lighting and sound for her church, with Relay for Life and with Hospice. Anna graduated from Manatee School for the Performing Arts with a 4.0 this past spring where she was on the Honor Roll all four years and held the Offices of Drama Club Treasurer and Vice-President.
Anna is excited to be pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Jacksonville University.
Marshall Knapp graduated from Braden River High where he excelled as a student, a leader, a teacher, a mentor and a musician. An advance level player of both piano and Alto Saxophone, Marshall has won many Superior and Excellent awards in District, County and State competitions. His strong academic record (4.2) at Braden River High School and his outstanding performance of excellence in music led him to receive; the John Philip Sousa Band Award (to the outstanding HS band student for superior musicianship, leadership, dependability and loyalty), the Fine Arts Department Director’s Award, the Braden River HS Band and Guard Director’s Award (for the most outstanding Band Member for dedication and commitment). Due to his leadership and teaching skills, Marshall was chosen as a Teacher’s Assistant in Band, as Drum Major (Jr. & Sr. year), Band President, Teacher’s Aide for the Concert Band and a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. As Drum Major in 2017, Marshall led the Marching Band of Pirates to become Class 3A State Champions. His other interests include; guitar, reading, composing music, writing, photography, athletics (hockey, baseball and volleyball) and community service. Once a month for 3 years Marshall volunteered at Feed My Starving Children packing nutritious meals for hungry children around the world and at Morning Star Mission where he served and prepared meals for the homeless.
Marshall will be attending the College of Music at Florida State University majoring in Music Education.
Benjamin Lages, a graduate of Manatee High School this past spring, excelled as both a musician and an academic. As a musician and performer, Ben was Co-Captain of the MHS drumline (Marching ‘Canes), received 8 Superior ratings at District Solo and Ensemble competitions and 4 Superior ratings at State Solo and Ensemble competitions. He is self-taught on the piano and bass guitar and a member of the MHS Ballroom Dance Club. Academically, Ben had a 4.4, was a member of the National Honor Society and stood in the top 10% of his class, while taking mostly AP classes (AP Human Geography, AP World History, College Algebra/, Elementary Statistics, AP US History, AP English Literature and Composition, Written Comp, Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry, AP French Language and Culture and AP Psychology. His extra-curricular activities included; Marching Band, Congres French Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Academic Team, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Boy Scouts. He was selected as one of only two students to enter AP French Language Class, was nominated for the Golden Herald Award in foreign language, received the Bradenton American Legion Award and took 1st Place in Microbiology at the MHS Science Fair in 2015. Ben has also received many blue ribbons when participating with the Congres de la Culture Francaise en Floride Team at the annual State-wide competitions in Orlando. Serving his community is another of Ben’s interests. Organizations he has volunteered for are; Relay for Life, Boy Scouts of America, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, MHS Drumline performances and Tri M.
Ben has been accepted into the Florida State University Honors Program.
The Island Players is pleased to provide these highly accomplished young students with The Dolores Harrell Scholarship. It is our hope that our help will assist them in furthering their studies, following their dreams and reaching success in their chosen fields.