Henry Ford II High School theater students perform during their production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Henry Ford II High School theater students perform during their production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Photo provided by Tim McAvoy

Henry Ford II theater students win ‘class act,’ acting and technical honors

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published March 18, 2024


SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA/STERLING HEIGHTS — Henry Ford II High School theater students won a great deal of recognition for their acting, technical and personal skills at the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association One-Act Play State Finals Feb. 18 at Wayne State University.

The Falcon Theatre and Troupe 6785 were honored for the second consecutive year with the Jon Fitzgerald Class Act Award for their staging of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The Ford II theater students also placed fifth statewide and earned superior honors from the majority of the judges in a variety of acting and technical categories.

Henry Ford II Theater Director Kirstin Carolin said that witnessing her students’ humanity shining through in Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” on a competitive stage was rewarding as a director and teacher.

“Not only did they captivate audiences, but their off-stage kindness and empathy earned them the prestigious Fitz Class Act award two years running. This recognition spotlights their well-rounded artistry, excelling in both performance and character,” Carolin said.

The Jon Fitzgerald Class Act Award is named for the longtime Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association executive director and recognizes the student group most frequently seen or overheard during the weekend supporting students and shows from other schools, one another, and the host site, which was Wayne State University’s Hilberry Gateway performing arts complex.

Carolin said they are so proud to have mounted a beautiful show that shares an important and relevant story.

“We all know Ford II has the best students,” she said. 

The one-act play competition challenges students to create, stage and perform a play in 45 minutes.

Senior Bria Loveday, who played Anne Frank, said the accomplishment of winning “The Fitz” and placing at MIFA States is so special to the students because as a troupe they pride themselves on being compassionate and respectful to everyone.

“Anne’s message taught us to appreciate and cherish every moment together. We told this story in hopes that others could learn and follow by our example,” she said.


Ford II awards for excellence:

• Sound Design — Aly Lupo, DeAndre Murray and Salvatore Orlando.

• Costume Design/Execution — Miriam Trevino & Company.

• Lobby Display — Miriam Trevino & Company. 

• T-Shirt Design — Abigail Patterson.

• Program Design — Ryan Snider.

• Acting — DeAndre’ Murray, Piper Gregory.


Superior awards:

• Acting Ensemble — Full acting ensemble.

• Anne Frank — Bria Loveday.

• Mrs. Van Daan — Miriam Trevino.

• Mr. Van Daan — Aidan Carolin.

• Student Directors — Bria Loveday, DeAndre’ Murray, Abigail Patterson.

• Properties Design — Dane Hoppe, Katie Nowak, Company.