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High school thespians honored

May 09, 2013

Laguna Beach High School’s Park Avenue Players were among the 1,000 performers from several Orange and Los Angeles county schools that competed in the John Rait Awards for Youth, JRAY, according to news release.

The awards are the annual high school Tony Awards-style program, which are sponsored by the Fullerton Civic Light Opera.

JRAY judges, who attended the participating schools various shows, nominated performers in 11 categories.

Six Park Avenue Players were nominated and seniors Karina Parker and Haley Castuera took home prizes.

Nominees included Clair Howell as Minnie Fay in “Hello, Dolly!” — Featured Actress of the Year; Karina Parker as Irene Maloy in “Hello, Dolly!” — Supporting Actress of the Year; Makenna Zur Schmiede as Rizzo in “Grease” — Supporting Actress of the Year; Haley Castuera as Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!” — Soloist of the Year, Female; Elias Cerdas as Barnaby in “Hello, Dolly!” — Dancer of the Year, Male; and Natalee Palmer as Cha-Cha in “Grease” — Dancer of the Year, Female.

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All nominees were given a JRAY medal, with first-place winners nabbing a trophy.

Parker also was named Best Supporting Actress of the Year and Castuera received one of three $1,000 scholarships funded by the organization.

— Alisha Gomez

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