Cappies Scholarship Recipient, India Henderson, Wows the Crowd and The Casey Feldman Foundation

By Jaela Zellars*

India Henderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the many scholarships awarded this past year, The Casey Feldman Foundation was pleased to offer Westtown High School student, India Henderson, the opportunity to be our 2017 Greater Philadelphia Cappies Scholarship recipient. The Cappies is an international awards program that trains and recognizes high school theatre and journalism students.

The Foundation began awarding a Cappies scholarship in 2011, two years after Casey was tragically killed by a distracted driver. Casey  became Springfield High School’s (SHS) first lead critic in 2005 and was nominated for a Cappie herself for best actress at the 2006 Gala for her participation in Springfield High School’s production of “The Odd Couple. She accepted the Cappie that year on behalf of the entire Odd Couple cast, which won the Cappie for best play.  In 2010, Casey was awarded an honorary Cappie that was accepted by her parents on her behalf.

Despite being one of very few students of color in a predominantly white high school, India Henderson has managed to stand out from the crowd thanks to her talents as both an outstanding actress and Cappies critic.  Since her sophomore year of high school, India has been a lead in several of her high school’s productions. One of her most notable performances took place during a production of Kiss Me Kate where something as simple as her entrance onto the stage earned her multiple rounds of applause.

While India is an incredibly talented and accomplished actress, writer, and critic, she also stood out to the Casey Feldman Foundation for her role as a student leader and passion for diversity and inclusion.  Those who think fondly of India have noted that “she pulls others in the process [of writing] and elevates their voice”. India truly values the meaning of teamwork and collaboration when it comes to the artistic process. Now a freshman at The University of Richmond, social justice is not a new topic of discussion for India. For years, India has been a very active member of the Children’s International Summer Villages Program which uses summer camps to build peace and understanding in a multicultural setting. India is very proud of who she is as a young black woman and during high school she used her position as the student body president to facilitate conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, amongst a community of students who had very limited exposure to the subject matter.

One of India’s most notable strengths is due to the fact that she is always looking to challenge and improve herself. During her 10th grade year, she took on the position of Work Program Head, a position that involved a lot of uncomfortable conversations between her and her peers about them not meeting community responsibilities. She knew that expanding her leadership roles would allow her to escape the clutches of her comfort zone, and it has helped her to evolve into a wonderful, empathetic, and self-sufficient leader within her community. Despite her commitment to so many extracurricular activities, India was able to maintain an outstanding GPA. Her ability to recognize when she needs to pull back on her activities to focus on her academics has been a tremendous skill for her that has and will continue to take her very far in life.

The grace and strength in which India has been able to handle adversity and still come out on top is what makes India not only a great Cappie, but also a well-deserving Casey Feldman Scholar.

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*Jaela Zellars is a junior at The University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in integrative physiology and double minoring in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies. She currently works as a Peer Mentor in the Multicultural Living and Learning Community as well as the Volunteer Resource Center at CU where she uses her position to get first-year students engaged in service work.

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