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The 2015 Dinner Gala 

On Thursday, January 15, the Minty Organization hosted its Second Annual Dinner Gala celebrating Theatre in our High Schools and honoring those who help to make it all possible. Co-sponsoring this event was The Hilton Garden Inn and the Where-to-Turn Organization. Over 220 members of the Staten Island Theatre Community together to honor those that have come before, our current students, and the future generation.









2015  Gala Honorees

Donna D'Ermilio

Carl W. Lesch Memorial Award for Educator of the Arts

Ms. D’Ermilio, a member of the St. Joseph Hill Class of 1971, and has been directing shows on the Hill stage for over twenty years. Her professional work with the Hill Drama Club began in 1977 taking on the role of Musical Director, working alongside Sr. Raimonde, the foundress of the Drama Club, in the Jerome Kern musical Very Good Eddie. She inherited the role of Director in the 1980s, where she has remained since, directing and musical directing such classics as Annie, Carousel, Meet Me in St. Louis, Guys and Dolls, The King & I, and Oklahoma!


“It’s so uplifting for audiences to see young people sharing their gifts,” said Ms. D’Ermilio. “To see friendships form during these years—Loretta and I have been friends since high school—it’s very special. Your time in drama is reflected by the longevity of your friendships.”  

Loretta O'Hara

Carl W. Lesch Memorial Award for Educator of the Arts Award 

Ms. O’Hara, an alumna of St. Joseph Hill Class of 1970, is celebrating her 45th year as choreographer for the St. Joseph Hill Drama Club. From her first show, Bells are Ringing, to her most recent, Hello, Dolly!, O’Hara has spent the better part of four decades teaching high school students all across the Island how to dance. She has been choreographer not only for St. Joseph Hill, but also for St. John Villa, St. Peter’s Boys, Moore Catholic and Msgr. Farrell High School. Among the shows she’s choreographed, 42nd Street at St. John Villa takes the cake as her favorite, with On Your Toes, Oklahoma!, and Carousel, which she has choreographed seven times, also personal favorites of hers.


“I always tell the boys everyone can dance, but not everyone is a dancer. My job is to get everyone on that stage and make them look good by showcasing their capabilities,” O’Hara said.

Kathy Brier

Distinguished Alumni Award

Receiving the Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award will be Moore Catholic alumna, Kathy Brier. Ms. Brier has been a constant presence on the stage and screen for over a decade. In 2002, she created the role of Marcie Walsh on ABC’s One Life to Live and received an Emmy nomination in 2004. In 2007, she won Canada’s Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama.


In 2003, she also took on the role of Tracey Turnblad in the Broadway smash-hit Hairspray, leading the Daily News to dub her “the hardest working woman in show biz!” Most recently, she was seen as Sophie Tucker in HBO’s Prohibition Era drama Boardwalk Empire.  

The Staten Island Advance

Community Enrichment Award

Lastly, receiving the Community Enrichment Award will be The Staten Island Advance. The Staten Island Advance has been informing Staten Islanders of the goings on of their borough since 1886. Throughout its history, The Advance has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to fine journalism and showcasing the achievements of students and the arts. 

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