‘Teeny Wall’ Unveiled for Theater Kids at Pierson

Pierson High School student Zoe Richardson, arriving to see the student perormance of the play "13," checks out the new Pierson Performing Arts Teeny Awards Wall of Fame outside the school's auditorium on Friday evening. Michael Heller photo

Pierson High School has a successful track record at the East End Arts Teeny Awards, which recognizes the best of the best in high school theater programs. Now, students and visitors can take a trip down memory lane at Pierson, where a wall documenting the school’s Teeny Awards achievements was unveiled on Friday just in time for a student-run rendition of the show “13 the Musical.”

“We’re super excited about that,” said Pierson senior Anna Francesca Schiavoni, one of the seven students who produced “13,” who has been recognized by East End Arts herself. “The ceremony that the Teeny Awards puts up is a really fun thing in general, but because we get our own wall for what we’ve won, it gives us the recognition here. … It’s definitely a different way to measure our talent.”

Stephanie Bitis, the mother of one of the student producers, Yanni, and a former school board member, tracked down a copy of every Pierson show program dating back to 2002, when the Teeny Awards began, for the art on the wall. Mary Adamczyk, assistant to superintendent Katy Graves, compiled the awards from those 16 years of shows. Glenn Graves, Ms. Graves’s husband, completed the framing, while David Diskin, a former school board member, donated the sign for the wall, and the custodians who installed it all arrived at 2 a.m. Friday to do so.

The “Teeny Wall” at Pierson is likely unique among the schools that participate in the East End Arts Teeny Awards program. Kristen Lee Curcie, who is in her second year as Teeny Awards coordinator, said she is not aware of any other similar installations.

“It’s a big deal out here for a lot of the schools,” Ms. Curcie said this week. “It’s nice to see that they’re taking the program and arts and theater with the same respect as sports and other programs at the school. I want everyone to realize how important the arts and theater are for students’ education.”

In related news, the student-run production of “13” raised $5,000 for Bay Street Theater’s Literature Live! Program. The show was a “Creativity, Action, Service” project for the seven International Baccalaureate students who ran the show, who are required to complete such a project for their diploma. Bay Street will produce “The Great Gatsby” this year from November 5 through 25 through Literature Live!, the 10th anniversary of the program.

“What an amazing thing they accomplished not only for the school but for the entire community,” Tracy Mitchell, Bay Street’s executive director said of the student producers.

Students and adults celebrating the unveiling of the Teeny Wall. Front row: Ella Knibb, Eva Doyle, Anna Francesca Schiavoni and Reilly Rose Schombs. Back row: Thomas Lawton, Graham DiLorenzo, Yanni Bitis, Mary Adamczyk, Katy Graves and Melissa Luppi. Christine Sampson photo