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Lakewood Students Headed to Helmerich School of Drama

Lakewood Students Headed to Helmerich School of Drama
Posted on 04/30/2018
The Lakewood High School Theatre Company has a longstanding commitment to excellence. The hidden gem of the school – or maybe not so hidden – is a top-notch performing arts program that attracts some of the most talented performers from around the district and the metro area.

This year’s class has two students who were highly sought out by colleges and universities from across the nation. Their auditions at the state Thespian Conference – the third largest in the nation and one of the top conferences for college and university recruiters – saw a combined 55 callbacks for just the two of them from institutions such as Pepperdine and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

After a rigorous audition season, Will Warner and Haley Jones-Nelan – both highly experienced students of the Lakewood High School Theatre Company – have committed to the University of Oklahoma. The highly-selective Helmerich School of Drama at OU sees over 2,000 auditionees each year and narrows that field to 42 – Warner and Jones-Nelan being two of those selected.

Will WarnerWarner, a 2018 Bobby G Awards recipient for his work as Beadle Bamford in Lakewood’s production of "Sweeney Todd," looks forward to the college environment and the fantastic opportunities it provides.

“I dropped everything to get here," stated Warner. "The audition process this year was rigorous and I got into some fantastic and highly competitive schools, but Oklahoma was the best fit. Chapman, Fordham, and UNC were all great options but at OU I felt at home the same way I do at Lakewood.”

A former athlete, Warner gave up wrestling, soccer, and lacrosse to pursue his passion for storytelling.

Haley Jones-NelanFor Jones-Nelan, the journey to this decision was an indirect one. A former basketball player, she was always interested in performing, but her passion for the work grew when she took her first theatre class her freshman year.

“I wouldn’t be prepared to take on this next challenge – this honor of attending a prestigious institution like OU – without the training and experiences with the LHS Theatre Company.”

Warner and Jones-Nelan are pleased to journey to Oklahoma together in the fall but look forward to the new and rewarding opportunities that new faces and the new environment will provide.

“I’m excited to study at the next level, but not anxious, I don’t think Haley and I could have been prepared for the next step any better. This program has given us all the tools we need to succeed in college, both in terms of acting and maturity.”
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