Olivia Story will graduate from Montezuma-Cortez High School with an honors diploma and $1,500 in scholarships for her honors presentation.
Story won the scholarships for her honors diploma presentation, a part of the honors diploma program, a four-year path at the high school that has the highest level of rigor, according to Sonja Copeland, M-CHS French teacher, gifted-and-talented program liaison and honors diploma coordinator.
“It culminates with the presentation of their senior papers in front of an eight-person panel of judges,” Copeland said.
Story’s presentation was a case for theater education called, “If the World is a Stage.”
“I was taking what I have learned with my experience in theater and theater education and making a case for how versatile it is in all fields, and how it is important for every individual,” Story said.
According to Copeland, Story presented her case in front of a panel of teachers of higher-level core classes, a parent, Re-1 Superintendent Lori Haukeness and high school Principal Jason Wayman.
“The panel has a rubric, and they evaluate each student, and then we confer and decide who is awarded that,” Copeland said.
The cash award is given in different ways each year at the discretion of the panel, according to Copeland.
“It can be to one student, it can be separated into like 700 and 300 or 500,” Copeland said. “It just depends on what the committee decides they want to do with it.”
Story received the full $1,000 scholarship from the district’s fund for gifted-and-talented students and an additional $500 from the Cortez Cultural Center’s Patsy Brown Scholarship because her presentation was “arts-oriented.”
Because she received the Patsy Brown Scholarship, Story will give her presentation again at the Cortez Cultural Center on May 2 at 6 p.m.
Story found out that she had received the scholarships while traveling to local elementary schools with the jazz band.
“Apparently after the pledge at the beginning of the school day, they announced the winner and the amount and everything, so I had a bunch of people text me and congratulate me,” Story said. “I was a bit flustered, but I was thrilled.”
Story said she is grateful for the two scholarships, which will cover some of her first-year fees and tuition at Oklahoma City University, where she will pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Acting. She said she is excited to have her classes focus on her chosen career.
“Whether they are math or science, they are going to be theater-based, so I am excited to be thrilled to go to my classes,” she said.
Story decided on Oklahoma City after spending some time on campus in summer 2017.
“I got to stay there over the summer for about a month, and I got to meet and work with the professors in acting and musical theater,” Story said. “I just knew upon being there and being in that environment, that was the place for me.”