Fargo North Theatre Department awarded a Premier Community for Theatre Education award


Official logo for the EdTA

In early April, Fargo North’s Theatre Department was named a Premier Community for Theatre Education. Of the over 5,000 schools that applied, only 27 schools received this honor. This award is given out by The Educational Theatre Association, home to the Educational Theatre Foundation and International Thespian Society. The ETA is an “international nonprofit whose mission is shaping lives through theatre education.” The foundation provides “essential financial support to enhance theatre education, expand access, and foster racial equity.”
The International Thespian Society is an honor society active in nearly 5,000 schools. Out of those 5,000 schools that applied, North was selected along with 26 other schools. This was based on an application submitted by Mr Gillen, which provided information about curriculum, scheduling, staffing, resources, and safety in the school’s theatre program. Data and related evidence were evaluated by EdTA staff to ensure appropriate awarding of the distinction. Only one other school in North Dakota, Williston High School, was chosen.
Our very own chapter of the International Thespian Society has 177 official members, with several Honor and National Honor, and even a few International Honor Thespians. Our troupe, number 4561, has been active for 18 years. It’s been open for several more than that, and is the only official troupe in the Fargo Public Schools district. This is the first time North’s Theatre Department has applied for this award, although Director Tom Gillen has thought about it for years. Gillen comments, “This award is all about recognizing the efforts made by all the drama students and the team of adults that help guide this program.”
The current president of our Thespian Society, Beckett Schultze, is very proud of this win. He said, “This award serves as a testament to the remarkable sense of community fostered by the Thespian society of Fargo North. It reflects the positive support and impact these students have had on each other.” Schultze feels this award may help give the department the recognition it deserves.
Vice President Amandine Mouche agrees wholeheartedly. Mouche is very thankful for all that this department has done for her and taught her over her four years at North. She said, “This award is a testament to the hardworking staff in the Performing Arts Department at Fargo North. They have provided nothing but relentless encouragement, positivity, and perseverance.” Mouche went on to say, “Mr. Gillen has given me a creative outlet to explore my passions and decide what I want to do with my life. This award represents the 18+ years of work Mr. Gillen has put into this department. I am proud to be a Spartan.”