Theatre Teacher out of Pittsburg, Kansas wins national award

Local Theatre Teacher Wins National Award For Her Work In The Community
KOAM Images

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) selects Lola Wade, of Pittsburg, Kansas as the 2022 National High School Heart of the Arts Award recipient.

Wade began her teaching career in 1972. Over her five decades of work, Wade helped produce more than 100 plays and musicals.

Wade has also appeared as a “guest teacher” in St. Mary’s classrooms to mentor students on public speaking and delivering speeches.

Last summer, Wade collaborated with several teachers to organize a theatre camp that was attended by more than 30 students.

In 1991, she applied for a grant that she used to establish an organization called “Leaders of the Pack,” which brought together a group of high school students that traveled the country performing 45-minute drama programs centered on making good life choices in the face of teenage adversities.

According to Wesley Streeter, St. Mary’s-Colgan High School Principal:

“Lola Wade’s impact on students would, without a doubt, be the storyline if there was a screenplay written about her. Whether we are talking about her first year teaching or this, her 50th year, she has had a positive impact on her students. Some joke that you could line up all the teachers she’s ever worked with, and without knowing her, you would be able to pick Mrs. Wade out because of her vibrant personality and expressive, heartfelt devotion to her students and theatre.”

The NFHS says the greatest indicator of Wade’s legacy is seen in her former students. While some of them are now performing on Broadway or with other theatre companies around the country, others have come back and taught with Wade as co-directors or choreographers.

For those interested in viewing some of Lola Wade’s work, be sure to check out St. Mary’s-Colgan’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast this week.