Casey Feldman Foundation 2013 Cappies Scholarship to Annina Baker; John Gildea Recognized; Springfield High School Wins Best Play

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Annina Baker at the Cappies Gala. Photo Credit: Gavin Baker Photography

This years local “Tony Awards” night for theater students from some 39 participating area high schools – the Greater Philadelphia Cappies Gala – included the third annual Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship which went to Annina Baker of Upper Merion High School.

An added bonus at the Gala came when Casey’s teacher and theater director, John Gildea, was given an award by the Cappies organization for his years  as a theater director at Springfield High School  and his  tireless efforts with the Cappies organization.  In addition, Springfield High School (SHS) won a Cappie for Best Play for their performance of Our Town, a play in which Casey also performed when she was at SHS.

The Cappies honors high school theater and journalism students. The Cappies Gala, which comes at the end of the school year, is an awards ceremony for the schools’ theater productions, in categories ranging from lighting, sound, set, and costume design, to comic actor, dancer, vocalist, and lead actor, to the coveted play and musical awards. Cappies critics, who write reviews of the schools’ shows throughout the year, are also nominated for awards. The presentation of the awards is interspersed throughout the evening at the Gala with performances from the schools nominated for Song, Play, and Musical, who perform selections from their shows. The students enter the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center on a red carpet and are clad in evening gowns and tuxedos.

The Feldman family established the Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies scholarship to honor Casey’s memory, since Casey was heavily involved in theater, journalism and the Cappies while in high school. “I am so pleased that Annina’s English and drama teacher, Laura Ebersole, nominated Annina for our scholarship,” said Joel Feldman, Casey’s father.

A surprised John Gildea from Sringfield High School accepting a Cappie award for his years of service to the theater arts

Annina has starred in musicals and plays at her school and has been a Cappies nominee twice for Comedic Actress in a Play. “On stage, Annina excels at singing, dancing, and acting. Her leading roles in Our Town, Moon Over Buffalo, and Seussical demonstrate Annina’s versatility as an actress,” wrote Laura Ebersole in her nomination. Annina has also been the Cappies lead critic from her high school and has had eight reviews published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Times Herald , leading to a Cappies nomination for Undergraduate Female Critic.

Annina is President of her school’s National Honors Society, participates in her school’s advanced choir, and is also a member of Octagon, her school’s community service club; all while maintaining a 3.95 GPA.

Annina used her senior graduation project requirement to further delve into the arts but also help out those in need. Her “Princess Project” blended together theater and charity to entertain sick or special needs children, sharing her love of the arts with those in need. She also furthers her studies by volunteering as a Historical Interpreter at Valley Forge National Park, and participates in other community service events such as Relay for Life, benefitting the American Cancer Society.

Annina’s  scholarship will aid in her enrollment this fall at Villanova University, where she will be majoring in mechanical engineering.

“I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient than Annina Baker for the 2013 Cappies scholarship that we established in Casey’s memory,” said Dianne Anderson, Casey Feldman’s mother.

“I am also so thrilled that John Gildea’s hard work and dedication to his students and the theater arts was recognized and that SHS won the Cappie for Best Play.”, added  Dianne. “There is  a special place in my heart for both John Gildea and the Springfield Theater Workshop. With also having the opportunity to meet our scholarship recipient, Annina Baker, I couldn’t think of a better ending to the evening.”

Please contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional, deserving students may benefit from scholarships.

 

Related Links:

Roll out the red carpet for the Cappies awards gala,  Philly.com, May 20, 2013

Eighth annual Great Philadelphia Cappies Gala this Sunday, Delco News Network,  April 28, 2013

The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Gavin Baker Photography, May 6, 2013

YouTube video –  Opening Performance at 2013 Cappies, Season of Love, from Rent

Meg Boeni Receives Second Annual Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship, Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates, October 2nd, 2012

Chris Price Receives First Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship Award,  Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates, May 17th, 2011

Casey Feldman Awarded an Honory Cappie; SHS Laramie Project Cast Wins Awards at the Cappies, Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates, June 21st, 2010

  Photos of Casey’s high school performances and the 2006 Cappies

SHS theater family remembers beloved actress, The News of Delaware County, December 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting your toe nails while driving? Putting in contact lenses? Colorado teens speak up as CO Trial Lawyers join the EndDD effort

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

By Dianne L. Anderson

 

Say what?! Yes, distracted driving comes in all shapes and as many colors as nail polish. In addition to the Casey Feldman Foundation’s philanthropy in awarding scholarships and grants to students and organizations, the Foundation is committed to ending distracted driving through its sponsored site, EndDD.org.

Casey Feldman was killed by a distracted driver in 2009 while crossing the street in a crosswalk at an intersection governed by 4-way stop signs. Joel Feldman, Casey Feldman’s father, is spreading the word nationwide and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association  (CTLA) is just one of 13 state organizations (in addition to Canada) which has taken up the cause and has committed its members to taking the EndDD.org presentation to teens in their communities. Some 60,000 students nationwide have seen the presentation since its inception in the Spring of 2012 and Feldman estimates that some 200,000 will have seen it by the end of this year.

Feldman holds a picture of his daughter, Casey, while he discusses the dangers of distracted driving during a driver education class at Longmont High School on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.(Greg Lindstrom/Times-Call)

The presentation was developed by Joel Feldman with the help of researchers, traffic safety experts and teen messaging experts to maximize teen engagement.  Feldman has personally given the presentation to more than 7,000 teens across the country and has given 9 presentations in Colorado since January 9, 2013, reaching some 600 Colorado teens in the Denver, Boulder and Longmont area thus far. Joel is working with the CTLA to implement the program throughout the state and is providing training to its lawyers so that the message will continue to be spread.

As a result of his efforts in Colorado, Feldman received the CTLA 2013 Consumer Protection Award.  “CTLA is proud to honor Joel with the Consumer Protection Award,” said John Sadwith, executive director at CTLA.  “Joel and his wife, Dianne, share their tragedy to get teenagers thinking and their families talking about distracted driving.  Our members want to help them succeed in saving lives.”  Stated Feldman, “It is particularly gratifying to receive this award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. Our son Brett will graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder this year and wants to make Colorado his permanent home.  My wife and I love the Boulder/Denver area where we have made many new friends since working with the University on a number of projects over the last 4 years.”

The EndDD presentation is comprehensive and covers all forms of distracted driving, not just cell phone usage, which is attributed to less than 1/4 of distracted driving crashes as of 2009 data.  “We do not want teens to have a false sense of security that if they are not using their cell phone, they are driving distraction free”, said Joel.

While teens across the country have recognized cell phone usage, eating, drinking, grooming, operating a GPS, talking to others in their vehicle and viewing roadside activity, as distractions, the Colorado teens added a few additional personal examples. Said one  teen, “My cousin is thin and very flexible and she actually had her foot up on the steering wheel and was painting her toenails as she was driving!  I was terrified.” Added another, “My mom was driving me while she put her contact lenses in her eyes! I was scared to death!”

Feldman has continued to affirm that distracted driving is not just a teen problem, but is everyone’s problem. “ In all of my presentations, the vast majority of the students report  that their parents drive distracted with them in the car. I have been so impressed with the Colorado teens who I have spoken with. They are bright, engaged and really want to drive safely. I am convinced that they will avoid many driving distractions and will also work to get their moms and dads to drive safer. Their generation will change our driving culture, just as our generation changed the culture regarding seat belt usage,” said Feldman.

Related Links:

EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving – Casey Feldman Foundation sponsored site)

Colorado Trial Lawyers Association – Community Outreach: Distracted Driving Program 

“Grieving father fights distracted driving in St. Vrain discussion”,  The Times Call, Longmont, CO 1-9-2013

“Reaching out in our communities to keep our children safe: The 2012-13 EndDD,org High School Distracted Driving Awareness Program”, by Joel D. Feldman,  Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Trial Talk,  Aug/Sept 2012

United States Department of Transportration/National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA),  “Distracted Driving 2009” Traffic Safety Facts Research Note,  Sept 2010