GCAA’s Brandon Riley Nominated for Best Performance Award by Arts for Life

GCAA's Matt Frederickson & Lisa Kaczmarczyk received the following letter from Kimberly Klick, who is on the Board of Directors of Arts for Life:

ARTS FOR LIFE is recognizing Brandon Riley with a nomination for our 18th BrandonRiley-Theater-212x300AnnualBest Performance Awards for Community Musical Theatre.  This year’s nominations have selected Brandon for his award worthy achievement of Best Direction of a Youth Musical Production for the musical Oliver! by St. Louis Summer Players. Over 1,338 participants were eligible for nominations this year.  ARTS FOR LIFE is dedicated to recognizing, supporting and promoting community theatre in the Metro-St. Louis area.  We salute these volunteers and encourage their talent that only enriches our community and our culture.

We would like your help in congratulating Brandon on this outstanding accomplishment.  If you have a newsletter, please consider an article about his artistic endeavors.  A portion of our press release follows below.  You may check our website for information about our organization: www.arsforlife.org.

The awards event is open to the public, and production numbers from many nominated shows will be presented to showcase the “Best of the Best” from last year’s musical theatre productions.  We would love to have Brandon’s associates present to show support.

Please also consider purchasing an advertisement in our program to congratulate Brandon on this outstanding achievement. Rates are listed on the enclosed flyer. Deadline is May 9th. Your advertisement would reach 650+ arts patrons/performers at our event and over 1200 through our newsletter, website & social media campaigns. We are very proud of all the people who volunteer their time to bring the Arts to the St. Louis community, and hope that you will help us recognize their efforts.  From this collaborative endeavor, we all win in the long run—and it is, indeed, a fun run!

Thank you for your consideration.


Kimberly Klick

AFL Board of Directors

AFL provided this information about the 18th Annual Best Performance Awards, to be held June 11, 2017. Arts for Life Describes itself as follows:

As we watch music education and theatre programs rapidly die in our schools, the need to keep community theatre alive is more important now, than ever. ARTS FOR LIFE, a non-profit organization with the mission of “Making A Dramatic Difference”, is passionate about the healing power of the performing arts, and is proud to salute, support, and serve the theatre groups in the Metro-St. Louis area. ARTS FOR LIFE is dedicated to promoting public awareness of local community theatre, encouraging excellence in the arts, and acknowledging the incredible people who are a part of it. ARTS FOR LIFE is also committed to supporting charitable programs in helping children, the under-served, and the community.

Each year, ARTS FOR LIFE conducts a special event, The Best Performance Awards for community musical threatre. This event is to recognize the incredible talent we have in St. Louis community theatre, and honor the passion and dedication of those who build this amazing, and unique theatrical community.

Arts for Life Sponsorship Form

GCAA Board of Directors Recognizes Student Achievements

On January 27, 2017, the Board of Directors recognized six students from Grand Center Arts Academy. Rachel Mueller and Patrick O’Brien - Congrats! The Board of Directors recognizes your achievement as Top 3 finalists in the 2017 Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri essay contest. Lila Armbruster, Amirah Bauder, Sydney Malone, Jadee Sharratt – Congrats! The Board of Directors recognizes your achievement as Top 10 finalists in the 2017 Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri essay contest.
Jadee Sharratt

Jadee Sharratt

Amirah Bauder

Amirah Bauder

Sydmey Malone

Sydmey Malone

Rachel Mueller

Rachel Mueller

Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien

Lila Armbruster

Lila Armbruster

Three Cheers for GCAA’s wonderful three counselors!

It is National School Counseling Week. That means: Three Cheers for our wonderful three counselors!  Hip Hip, Hooray!  Hip Hip, Hooray!  Hip Hip, Hooray! counseling Please join us in thanking our three wonderful counselors for the services they provide to our students each and every day. Happy School Counseling Week to Erica Snelson, Rusty Smith and Vanessa Reed!  

GCAA Teacher Christine Nobbe Receives Challenger Learning Center award

When she was 10, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her interest in space grew from watching the Apollo 11 space rocket land on the moon. “I was riveted to the TV the day man walked on the moon.” Fast forward to present day, and Christine Nobbe, instructional coach at Grand C Nobbe_GCAA Jan 2017 smallCenter Arts Academy, is being recognized as a 2017 Challenger Learning Center Inspiring Teacher. She is among seven teachers who will be awarded in honor of the seven Challenger astronauts who were set to go into space on January 28, 1986, but the spacecraft exploded during the launch. The space shuttle flight included Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher to go into space. Nobbe has been an educator for 38 years, working in districts both small and large. She was a gifted education specialist in the Rockwood School District before retiring in 2013. She joined GCAA in 2015 as an instructional coach. Her responsibilities range from helping new teachers to curriculum development to guiding gifted students. For entire article, visit the Confluence Site.

GCAA’s First Graduating Class

It was, indeed, a beautiful evening at the Sun Theater, packed with family and friends.   It was time to meet the first ever graduating class of GCAA.  The program for the evening can be found here.  GN6A1344 GCAA grad GN6A1325 GCAA grad By the end of the night, there were the new graduates, of course.   But there were also some impressive statistics cited by Head of School, Matt Frederickson:

I cannot be more proud of our first senior class and all that they have accomplished.  We wish them well in their future endeavors and are so thankful for all they have contributed to the life and vision of this school.  At our first graduation, we learned that of this senior class, 99% graduated and 88% have plans for post-secondary study while earning nearly a million dollars in scholarship offers.  Educating our children for a successful future is important and influential work. I want to recognize our AMAZING staff and their daily contributions in providing the richest experience possible for our students.

A special treat for the GCAA community was the attendance of all three original members of the GCAA Administration:  Dan Rubright, Laura Hoffman and Lynne Glickert. GN6A1319 GCAA grad GN6A1649 GCAA grad But the new graduates stole the show.  There will never again be a first ever graduating class for GCAA, which made the evening all the more special. GN6A1298 GCAA gradGN6A1309 GCAA gradGN6A1521 GCAA grad GN6A1428 GCAA grad GN6A1538 GCAA grad In addition to the following clickable photo thumbnails, even more photos are available at the GCAA Flickr page.   

GCAA Checking in from DC

image_1 Here are a few cool photos from our GCAA trip so far. We are having an awesome time! The kids have seen most of the major memorials (Vietnam, Korean War, Lincoln, Jefferson, WWII, etc), two Smithsonians (American Art & Air and Space), the White House, Capitol Hill, sat in on the House of Representatives (heard them discussing HR-474), and more!!! Tomorrow we head to Philadelphia for the day! image We also witnessed a magnificent rainbow over the National Mall yesterday, as you'll see in the photo. Hoping everyone's last week is going well! Sara Kenzie

[Update] GCAA’s Brandon Riley Wins award as Outstanding Teacher

Brandon at award luncheon Brandon Award 1 Media Release - GCAA teacher_MACTE Outstanding Teacher 2015 {Update]:   On March 4, 2015, Brandon Riley, theatre arts teacher at GCAA, was named MACTE Outstanding Beginning Teacher 2015 today at a ceremony in Jefferson City. For additional information, including an interview of Mr. Riley, see this article by Nez Savala of Confluence.  -- Riley_Brandon-200x300Brandon Riley was recently nominated as one of two finalists for the Outstanding Beginning Teachers to be represented at a MACTE conference. The Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) is a state affiliate of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Riley commented, "Throughout this process I have been very humbled by this experience, to be nominated for an award while doing something you love to do is a prize in itself. I am thankful to be a part of an amazing and caring staff at GCAA and enjoy the team work we display. The students and parent we have here are a daily reminder of how bright our future is. Our students continue to keep me motivated to progress." [Update March 13 2015) Brandon Riley is also a brave man, based on his willingness to face thrown whipped cream pies as part of a recent GCAA fund raiser. image3

The View from Room 212 on December 9, 2014

“I’m sorry that you didn’t get to teach this afternoon,” the 16 year old said to me apologetically, as if he caused the 20 students to walk out of my classroom, in the middle of my lesson.  A trail of abandoned backpacks, notebooks were left on the tables while the laptops were still warm.  Any other day, any other time, I would be livid at this unforeseen turn of events.  Instead, I observed with the few remaining students at the protest gathering outside our school. IMG_2989 IMG_3111 IMG_3089   The view from our classroom, Room 212, presented GCAA students filling the green lawn across the street.  Students intended to catch the attention of our surrounding community and express their disapproval of the recent turn of events coming out of Ferguson. I considered this unpredictable event  as a teachable moment.  I watched each student contemplate the idea of public protest:  while some enthusiastically bounded out of the classroom to be part of the movement, others paused , filled with questions –did I approve?  Would they be punished?  Exactly what are the consequences for walking out of school to be part of a public demonstration?  What would their parents say?  Each student reached a conclusion in his/her own time. IMG_3495JJVPhotography_2014 IMG_3447JJVPhotography_2014-lo res IMG_3438JJVPhotography_2014 lo res       For those who chose to stay back and take in the scene from a bird’s eye view, the questions continued to spark serious reflection.  Is it an effective protest if there are no signs?  Does it matter that our protestors assembled with different intentions to express?  From Room 212 we wondered and watched the GCAA staff present a watchful eye over the situation, ensuring student safety at all times.   My official lesson may have been scrapped, but it was replaced with an unforgettable experience for every one – vocal protesters and quiet observers alike.  That afternoon, so many students found a voice that they never used before while others began asking questions of the political system they never pondered. Article by Cindy Kalachek, , B.A., M.Ed. - English III and English Chair Photos by JuJu Vieth, 11th Grader at GCAA [Note:  The first three photo were taken on the school day protest.  The final three photos were taken during an after-school protest a few days later]. 

GCAA Students perform in Nutcracker Ballet hosted by Missouri Ballet Theatre

As we are getting closer to the holiday season, we are proud to congratulate the following GCAA students for their acceptance in the Nutcracker ballet hosted by Missouri Ballet Theatre's director Adam Sage. The performances will be Friday December 19th-Sunday December 21st including matinee performances at the Edison Theatre. Please look on their website for more information. Aaliyah Weston Paige Morgan Olivia Heinle Jazmine Anderson Lacey Swanson Kaitlyn Irby Miles Thomas Connor Hanlon Zane Lippert Dale Evans Jahlah Kae Baum SenSaSheri Maasera August Hanlon Hailey Castro Michael Cummings Jr. Anthony Orozco Anita Chisum KloeAmber Harris Jordan Siemens

GCAA Ninth Grader receives award for Human Rights Essay

One of our 9th grade students, Royce Martin, won second place in the 18th Annual Human Rights Essay Contest, sponsored by the St. Louis Coalition for Human Rights and the Missouri History Museum. In addition to the honor of placing in this competition, Royce will be taking home $100 in prize money. The reception for the award is December 10, 2014 at the Missouri History Museum. If you see Royce, congratulate him on this tremendous success. Best, Evan Smith