Foundation Awards Greater Philadelphia Cappies Scholarship
The Casey Feldman Foundation is proud to have awarded its annual Cappies Scholarship* to Xandra Coleman from Phoenixville High School! The announcement was made at the annual Greater Philadelphia Cappies Gala, which is a Tonys-like awards show celebrating the end of another successful season of high school theater in the Greater Philadelphia region. In addition to her involvement in theater, writing and a multitude of activities, it was Xandra’s passion for service work that caught the eye of the Foundation in awarding the scholarship that bears Casey’s name.
Xandra was nominated for the Foundation scholarship by Christine Tavani, German and Theatre Arts Teacher at Phoenixville High School in a recommendation which follows:
Xandra is a senior at Phoenixville Area High School. Throughout the last four years, she was completely involved in what the High School had to offer: Theater Guild, theater productions, marching band, jazz band, National Honors Society, Academic Team, and, of course, Cappies. In the community at large, she worked with the Camphill Community involving adults with mental disabilities and has picked up marathon running. She has cataloged over 4,000 hours in extracurricular activities and 1,500 hours of volunteer work in addition to holding down a job and maintaining a high academic standard. The plethora of activities certainly permits for a sturdy college resume, but her involvement is not at all about strengthening her biography, but strikes closer to her desire to grow through experience, show compassion for her community, and be committed to bolstering the people around her.
Due to her passion for service work, she has taken advantage of the opportunities to tutor local kids, help run school events, fundraise for charities, and – her personal favorite – develop relationships with the people in the Camphill Community in Kimberton. The villagers of Camphill can have a wide range of developmental delays from autism to Down’s Syndrome, but each of them has a unique range of skills and a delightful personality. The enriching atmosphere causes Xandra to look forward to volunteering in their sustainable community each summer. However, the service project she is most proud of comes in the form of Suicide Prevention Trainings for youth. In her high school career, she has unfortunately recognized the desperate need for proper suicide prevention training for students. Therefore, in her senior year she made the effort to develop and present trainings to local youth ages twelve to eighteen as part of her senior service project for school.
After three years of dedicated involvement with her school activities, in her senior year she was also chosen for numerous leadership positions including Theater Guild Leader, Band President, National Honors Society Parliamentarian, Marching Band Section Leader, along with Lead Cappie. Xandra strived for these positions not for the status, but for the opportunity to grow and support the organizations she has come love. Many of her classmates have witnessed her tireless work ethic which includes reading textbooks on the bus rides to events, finishing homework in those five minute intervals before a rehearsal starts, and racing back and forth to club meetings. As a result of her efforts, she has been honored in being awarded the National School Marching Award and Student of the Month, winning the Martin Luther King Jr Expressions Contest for her essay, and having her Cappie reviews published. There is no doubt that she has given her all to the Phoenixville community.
She will be spending this following year living with a host family in Senegal, learning a new language and culture, doing service work in the form of an apprenticeship with a local organization, and earning college credit. She hopes this will foster a matured world view as she pursues a major in international affairs and environmental studies with the hope of a future career with the United Nations. She credits her experiences with the Cappies program for developing her voice as a writer, a voice which will continue to speak as she blogs about her experiences abroad, writes essays for colleges, and, one day, as she represents our country in the global community.
Congratulations Xandra and thank you Christine Tavani for nominating such an outstanding student!
*Casey was involved in every high school theater production at Springfield High School (SHS) from her sophomore year through graduation. She was the lead critic from SHS for the Cappies, with reviews published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and as well as in local papers. In 2006 Casey accepted the Cappie award for the entire SHS cast of the Odd Couple which won best play. Casey was also nominated for a Cappie herself for her role in that production as Gwendolyn Pigeon.