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TJAA Governor's Awards in Arts Education

The Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy drama department was a big winner in the annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education competition at Montclair State University on January 6. Twelve students from Jefferson Arts Academy joined students from throughout the state in the highly competitive event sponsored by the Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey (STANJ).

Participants competed in categories such as Dramatic Monologue, Comedic Monologue, Musical Theatre Solo, and Shakespeare.  Each category was judged by industry professionals who provided valuable feedback to the participants following their performances. The following Jefferson Arts Academy students earned special recognition for their efforts: 

3rd place for SCENE - performing a scene from A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Jefferson Arts Academy Theatre Arts teacher Erika Hicks 
Actors: Angelina Benatar, Za'Niyah Shell, and Shamar Thomas

2nd Place for DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE - performing a monologue from A Raisin in the Sun
Actor: Shamar Thomas

2nd Place for BEST ACTRESS overall: Za'Niyah Shell

1st Place for BEST ACTOR overall and the Governor's Award for BEST ACTOR was awarded to Shamar Thomas. 

The 2024 STANJ Governor's Award for Outstanding Teacher of Theatre was awarded to Jefferson Arts Academy Theatre Arts teacher Sandra Toll, recognizing her years of dedicated service.