Karsen Mayo

Karsen Mayo, a senior, performs a part in the play “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe.

Nelson County High School’s One Act drama team won first place yet again in Virginia High School League competition, making it the fifth state championship win for the advanced drama class since 2009.

In addition, two of the four “Best Actor” awards presented at the competition on Dec. 4 went to Nelson County High School seniors Cleo Hill and Anna Dolleris for their portrayals of Johnna the production of “Every Brilliant Thing.”

Hill, a senior, said it was an honor to even compete, let alone win an award.

“It honestly feels so

amazing. It was a lot of work, but it all paid off,” Hill said.

The advance drama class, made up of 18 students, has been rehearsing “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillan with Johnny Donahoe — the original star — since October. They competed against three other high schools in their division — Radford, Buckingham County and Floyd County high schools — on Nov.17 to qualify for states.

“Every Brilliant Thing” is a play about a 7-year-old who decides to write a list of all things that are worth living for in hopes of raising the spirits of his mother, who suffers from chronic depression. The play follows the child into adulthood, while documenting the effects of depression on a child and a family.

During the state competition, Nelson County High School competed against Staunton’s Robert E. Lee, Marion’s Marion Senior, and Farmville’s Prince Edward County High School.

“I thought the kids did the best job they had ever done on this show. They did absolutely every little detail Peter [Coy] and I asked them to do,” Diana Driver, Nelson County High School Drama teacher, said. “They were wonderful.”

Anna Cheape, a sophomore at Nelson County High School, said she’s sad it’s over but happy to have had an amazing ending to their season.

“I am just really proud that his was my first year and we did as well as we did and the seniors got to go out with a bang,” Cheape said.

Driver said many community members came to support the students at the competition and Nelson County High School principal, Janell Stinnett, sent a bus of kids to the show to cheer them on.

“It was incredible and we are so thankful we have such a great community,” Driver said.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or econway@newsadvance.com.

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