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Principal earns award for support of CHS theater program

The Educational Theatre Association honored Claremont High School Principal Brett O’Connor last week with an Administrator’s Award for his active role in the school’s theater department from playing roles to championing large fundraising campaigns. Mr. O’Connor, who has been in education for 34 years, is in his 11th year at Claremont High School.

The EdTA noted that in June 2011, when CHS Troupe 2129 was invited to perform Starmites at the 2011 International Thespian Festival, Mr. O’Connor accompanied the students to the festival in Nebraska and championed the fundraising effort to get them there.

In fall 2016, he—along with teachers, administrators, school board members and the superintendent—participated in the production of Our Town, alongside Claremont High School Theatre students. Funds raised from the production were donated to local charities.

In spring 2017, Troupe 2129 named Mr. O’Connor an honorary member of the International Thespian Festival.

According to EdTA, Mr. O’Connor was an athlete in high school, but he says, “Students in theatre learn so many important real world skills: communication, teamwork, resilience, problem-solving and self-expression. When people think of theater, they tend to think of the stage performers, but don’t ever forget the important skills the production students are gaining.”

CHS Troupe director and EdTA board member Krista Carson Elhai nominated Mr. O’Connor.

“He fully immersed himself in the role of learner and often said how important it was for the students and staff to see him try something new and outside his comfort zone and skill set,” she said. “As he walked the walk and talked the talk of being a lifelong learner, he set a strong example for our students and became an excellent role model for our theater students, staff and student body.”