Peninsula Players Awards Local Students

Peninsula Players Theatre is pleased to announce the recipients of its Annual Outstanding Student Award and Peninsula Players Scholarships. Peninsula Players Theatre fashioned the Outstanding Student Award in 2018 to recognize and reward graduating high school students across Door County for their achievements in and enthusiasm for the performing arts. Graduating Door County high school seniors pursuing a secondary education major or minor in arts management, music or theater are also eligible for the scholarship. One $500 scholarship was available to a student at each of the five Door County high schools for a total of $2,500.

“It is such an honor to provide support to these future arts professionals,” said Peninsula Players Theatre Managing Director Brian Kelsey. “The Board of Directors is thrilled to award scholarships to these 2020 Door County high school graduates pursuing an advanced degree with a major or minor in arts management, music or theater. We hope these future professionals will contribute and inspire our community at large.”

The Peninsula Players Scholarship was created by Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater, and its Board of Directors to foster the career path and arts education of graduating high school students across Door County in the performing arts. “Peninsula Players Theatre is proud to support the higher education of these passionate students,” Kelsey said.

Shelby LaViolette, a recent graduate of Sturgeon Bay High School, is the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award. The three recipients of the Peninsula Players Scholarships are Hayden Hoffman, a recent graduate of Gibraltar High School; Mya Ploor, a recent graduate of Sevastopol High School; and Jadacey Teska, a recent graduate of Southern Door High School. Each student has demonstrated a high level of participation and creativity in the arts, including drama, music or choral, during their high school career.

LaViolette participated in all of Sturgeon Bay High School’s musicals during her tenure and was an active participant in the choir. Her dedication to music inspired her to enroll in additional courses at school and to take on a leadership role in the choir by guiding younger singers.

Hoffman has been an avid participant in Door County theatrical productions throughout his high school career, making his professional debut as Nathan Lukowski in the 2016 Peninsula Players production of “The Full Monty.” He participated in Gibraltar musicals, forensics, One Act competions and solo ensemble. He also performed the role of Boyo in Northern Sky Theater’s 2019 production of “Windjammers.” Hoffman has been accepted to the University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point and plans to major in Musical Theater.

Ploor’s passion for the arts led her to join the Peninsula Player’s Broom Squad, a core group of volunteers who help to prepare the dorms and grounds of the theater for patrons and company members. Ploor participated in jazz band and in all the plays and musicals throughout her high school career. She plans to study music education at Luther College.

Teska’s musical talents caught the ear of pat mAcdonald and the 2019 Steel Bridge Festival in which Teska participated as an up-and-coming Door County-based singer-songwriter. While in high school, she participated in several musicals and was the president of the forensics team. Teska also served as the production director for LEAP her sophomore and junior years.

Peninsula Players Theatre and the National Standards for Arts Education agrees that the arts are an integral part of education and of the human journey. Arts education extends beyond academics; students show increased self-confidence and self-understanding, enhanced communication skills and improved cognition.

“A civilized culture depends on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity,” Kelsey said. “The arts are such a critical part of a student’s education as well as continued personal development. It is highly rewarding to see that schools in Door County still value the arts as part of core learning and that its adult population embrace life-long learning. A wealth of diverse visual and performing arts organizations flourish in Door County, and our communities are perfectly situated to play a critical role in the continued education of our students and adult population.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Student Award/Scholarship receive a $500 scholarship toward their higher education, four tickets to any two performances of the Peninsula Players 2021 season, a backstage tour of the theater, the exclusive opportunity to see a run-through performance of a show in the rehearsal hall, and a Peninsula Players sweatshirt.

Peninsula Players Theatre is committed to providing educational programming for the community through its winter play reading series, The Play’s the Thing, post-show discussion and pre-show seminars. The Peninsula Players has a long history of educational initiatives, including an intern program that dates back to the founding days of the Players in the 1930s.

For more information about the Peninsula Players Outstanding Student Awards and Scholarships contact Development and Events Manager Danielle Szmanda at (920) 868-3287 or for a full list of qualifications, visit