Springer Opera House's Theater Academy has standout students

Every summer, the Springer Opera House’s Theater Academy graduates its senior class, and, every year, the most outstanding students are given awards.

I don’t like to play favorites, but I’m telling you the 10 Legacy Scholarship Award winners are among my favorite young actors. I’ve been talking to them for years now.

I’ve got little bios on each of the recipients — where they attended high school, where they are going to college and the number of years they’ve been an Academy student.

Jasmin Anderson: Columbus High. Georgia State University. Eight years. At Columbus High, she was in “Bee-Luther-Hatchee,” and at the Springer, she was in “Bambi,” “The Big Friendly Giant,” “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer” and “Sideways Stories from Wayside School.” She’s a student representative of the Springer Board of Directors.

Greg Bourke: Harris County High. Boston Conservatory of Music. Seven years. On the Springer Mainstage, he’s been in “Oklahoma!,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Peter Pan,” “Footloose” and “Carousel.” On the Children’s stage, he’s been in “The Big Friendly Giant.” At Harris County, he was in “Beauty and the Beast,” “Grease” and “Aladdin.”

Melissa Cone: Columbus High. Columbus State University. Ten years. Melissa played Wendy in “Peter Pan” and “Big River” and “The King and I” on the Springer Mainstage. For the Children’s Theater, she was in “Bambi” and “Sideways Stories from Wayside School.” At Columbus High, she was in “Zombie Prom,” “The Curious Stranger,” “Almost Maine” and “Anatomy of Gray.”

Wesley Forlines: Columbus High. University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Seven years. Has appeared in “The Big Friendly Giant” and “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” at the Springer. At Columbus High, worked tech positions on many plays and was rewarded for his work as a lighting designer from the Georgia Thespian Conference. He’ll study lighting design.

Mary Lou Garcia: Home-schooled. Columbus State University. Eleven years. On Mainstage, she was in “The King and I.” On the children’s stage, she was in “Bambi,” “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer” and “A Thousand Cranes.” At the Family Theatre, she was in “Cinderella” and “Alice in Wonderland.” She’ll be a sophomore studying pre-med.”

Cameron McCarty: Hardaway High. Florida Institute of Technology. Nine years. Was in “Bambi,” “The Big Friendly Giant” and “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” for the Children’s Theater. He’ll be studying aerospace engineering

Melissa Saint-Amand: Columbus High. Westminster College of the Arts. Nine years. Mainstage productions include “Inherit the Wind” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Children’s stage shows include “Oliviatown,” “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” and “The Big Friendly Giant.”

Dylan Stephan: Northside High. Georgia State University. Ten years. Was in “Big River” as Tom Sawyer on the Mainstage. Children’s Theater plays include “Madeline,” “Bambi,” “James and the Giant Peach.” At Northside, he was in “Godspell” and “Totally Red.” He’ll study business as well as theater.

Ansley Usery: Harris County High. Columbus State University. Seven years. Has appeared in “Footloose” and two productions of “The Big Friendly Giant.” At Harris County, she was in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Once Upon a Mattress,” “You Can’t Take it With You” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” She is a member of the Springer’s Student Advisory Board.

David Bret “DB” Woolbright: Hardaway High. Columbus State University. Twelve years. On Mainstage, DB has been in “Ragtime,” “Peter Pan” and “Big River.” In the Children’s Theater, he’s been in “James and the Giant Peach,” “Oliviatown” and “Amazing Grace.” He originated the role of Jeremy in “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer.”

Congratulations and good luck, kids. Congratulations also go to Academy director Ron Anderson and his dedicated staff of teachers.

Sandra Okamoto, sokamoto@ledger- or 706-571-8580.

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