Nazareth Academy honors 5 for work in fine arts

Nazareth Academy celebrated those who have made a significant contribution to the arts when the school welcomed five new members into the Fine Arts Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony took place prior to the opening night of Nazareth’s spring production of “Shrek The Musical!” Nazareth hosted a reception for the honorees, their guests and many Nazareth alumni, including dozens of former thespians, student directors and crew members.

“A strong curriculum enriched by a healthy and vibrant fine arts program has been the mainstay for Nazareth Academy throughout our 114 year history,” said Principal Deborah Tracy. “Music, art and drama, all special and important to the Sisters of Saint Joseph who sponsor our school, remain vital pieces of our educational philosophy which centers on the development of the whole person.”

The following five were inducted:

• Debbie Hale Soldato of Darien (Class of 1972) – Outstanding Educator

• Carolyn Brady Riley of Chicago (Class of 1990) – Outstanding Graduate

• Tekoa Coleman of Los Angeles (Class of 1995) – Outstanding Graduate

• Clare Grill of Sunnyside, NY (Class of 1997) – Outstanding Graduate

• Denise Slattery of Geneva – Outstanding Friends of the Arts

Soldato, an educator for 18 years, including 2 1/2 years at Nazareth, has influenced the lives of her classmates and students. While teaching she was actively involved in traveling theatre productions as well as school musicals and directed “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music” while serving as moderator of the Drama Club.

She received the Teacher of the Year award in 1979 in addition to later receiving the Leaders, Legends and Legacy Award. She is an active participant on the Alumni Advisory Board, taking the lead on alumni service opportunities Soldato teaches early childhood, junior kindergarten and kindergarten music at the Avery Coonley School and is an art awareness volunteer for Mark DeLay Elementary.

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