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ASU-Beebe Theatre Program Welcomes Six From Jacksonville High School
Posted Date: 5/26/23

ASU-Beebe welcomed six Jacksonville High School seniors to its theatre program in a special scholarship signing ceremony held at the JHS Auditorium on Friday, May 19, with family, friends and leaders from both JHS and ASU-Beebe in attendance. The group of students is the largest recruited from a single school district into the college’s theatre program in recent years under Ryan Gibbons, assistant professor of communication and theatre. ASU-Beebe is excited to have them join the Vanguard family this fall.  

The six co-stars from JHS drama club’s rendition of “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy” held in spring 2023 join a vibrant program at ASU-Beebe where at least 57 incoming and current students are already committed for the fall. The students include Tristyn Armstrong, Tianna Bonner, Angelino “AJ” Juario, Juliana Moser, David Pratt and Kiera Toles.  

To help them pursue their dreams of a career in theatre, the students signed a scholarship acceptance agreement for $1,000 per school year. They were selected based on their artistic talent, theatre involvement, and potential for success in the field. The scholarships will enable the students to study theatre classes that focus on acting, lighting, makeup, directing, stagecraft, and other theatre fundamentals as they work toward an Associate of Fine Arts degree. 

The ceremony was a memorable experience for the students. Armstrong, who has been active in theatre since 8th grade and won a Gold Solo Musical award from the Arkansas State Thespians Festival in February, said ASU-Beebe would allow him to grow in the theatre field and further explore costuming and design.  

“[The ceremony] kind of made me feel like we were finally being taken seriously, and it solidified the fact that this is going to be our career,” said Armstrong.   

Bonner agreed that the ceremony brought her and her fellow students a sense of pride.  

“It kind of solidified answers to questions about what we were going to do after high school,” Bonner said.   

Gibbons, who has attended every show at JHS that the students have starred in, is excited to grow their talent at ASU-Beebe.   

“We’ve been here to see it. We’ve been here to watch [them] grow,” said Gibbons. “They excel at everything. … and I can’t wait to see what [they] are going to do at our place this fall.”  

The students, who are coming from a thespian troupe that received the Gold Honor at the State Thespian Festival, are excited to begin their college careers and continue their interest in theatre. Toles began theatre in her junior year of high school and said the ASU-Beebe theatre program would challenge her boundaries and push her to do more.  

“I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone and taking more risks,” said Toles.   

During the ceremony, ASU-Beebe Chancellor Dr. Jennifer Methvin said she and her husband, Roger, are avid ASU-Beebe theatre patrons and look forward to the next school year’s productions.  

“I can’t wait to see what you will do at ASU-Beebe,” Methvin told the students. 

Others present on the stage during the ceremony included: Sam Stroud, JHS drama teacher; Jeremy Owoh, Jacksonville North Pulaski School District superintendent; Dr. Jason Goodner, ASU-Beebe vice chancellor for academics; Teddy Davis, ASU-Beebe dean of arts and humanities; and ASU-Beebe mascot Van Vanguard. 

To view photos from the event, visit:  

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