Announcing the 12th Annual Joci Awards Finalists

25 Talented High School Performers Selected to Receive over $100,000 in Scholarships at the 2020 Joci Awards

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SAN ANTONIO (March 10, 2020) – Las Casas Foundation is pleased to announce that 25 finalists from 13 high schools in San Antonio and the surrounding area have earned a place at the 2020 Joci Awards, the organization’s 12th annual performing arts scholarship competition. These finalists will sing, act and dance, vying for a chance to win a portion of more than $100,000 in scholarship funds and for two finalists, the chance to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. The Joci Awards is open to the public and will take place on Sunday, May 17 at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Competitors will step into the spotlight having been chosen from a field of 172 applicants from 46 schools throughout South Texas, a record-high number of applicants since the program’s inception in 2009. All 25 finalists are guaranteed scholarship funds ranging from $3,000 to $6,000, with notable guest judges evaluating their live performances on May 17 to determine the amount for each. An additional $10,000 will be awarded to the best overall performance. In 2019, Las Casas awarded its one-millionth dollar, maintaining its designation as the largest scholarship funding source of its kind in the United States.

“The Joci Awards celebrates the performing arts and Texas’ rising stars. It’s exhilarating and exciting to recognize the amount of young talent in Texas, especially here in San Antonio,” says Kevin Parman, Board Chair for Las Casas Foundation. “The scholarship program is highly competitive, so to be selected as a finalist is a true honor.”

The five categories included are: Acting, Best Lead Actor in a Musical, Best Lead Actress in a Musical, Dance and Vocal. The finalists for this year’s Joci Awards are:

Acting
Michael Buck – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Connor Fitzmaurice – Johnson High School; San Antonio, TX

Christopher Johnson – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Naudia Mayers – Steele High School; Cibolo, TX

Faith Zepeda – Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory; Harlingen, TX

Best Lead Actor in a Musical*
Tristan Flores as Usnavi in In the Heights – Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory; Harlingen, TX

Joshuah Mayo as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors – Judson High School; Converse, TX

Nathan Napoli as Thomas Andrews in Titanic – Reagan High School; San Antonio, TX

Dawson Rice as Frederick Barrett in Titanic – Reagan High School; San Antonio, TX

Aidan Villarreal as Bobby Child in Crazy for You – Taft High School; San Antonio, TX

Best Lead Actress in a Musical*
Isabelle Bulen as Polly Baker in Crazy for You – Taft High School; San Antonio, TX

Gabriela Rae Garza as Abuela Claudia in In the Heights – Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory; Harlingen, TX

Naliah Hernandez as Margaret White in Carrie – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Julianna Ingram as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Claire McGinlay as Carrie White in Carrie – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Dance
Kaben Benavides – Advanced Learning Academy; San Antonio, TX

Toby Lawrence – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Kennady McClure – Connections Academy; San Antonio, TX

Emma Vicana – Johnson High School; San Antonio, TX

Cameron Wood – iUniversity; San Antonio, TX

Vocal
Olivia Barrón – MacArthur High School; San Antonio, TX

Carlie Green – North East School of the Arts; San Antonio, TX

Breanna Klotzbach – Madison High School; San Antonio, TX

Grant Pace – ZACH Performing Arts Academy; Austin, TX

River Phillips – Reagan High School; San Antonio, TX

* Finalists in the Best Lead Actor in a Musical and Best Lead Actress in a Musical categories are eligible to advance to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City.

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About Las Casas Foundation — Las Casas Foundation is dedicated to the development of the performing arts through education and scholarships, and the restoration and preservation of historic theatres. Las Casas Foundation offers a variety of educational initiatives to nurture and grow the performing arts, including the Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Program, which awards more than $100,000 in scholarship funds annually, as well as additional educational and training opportunities like Behind the Scenes and Camp Broadway. For more information, visit www.lascasasfoundation.org.

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