Phanesia Pharel of South Dade Senior High School in Homestead is the second runner-up of the International Thespian Society Democracyworks student essay competition. She is a member of Thespian Troupe 3637.
Pharel also won a spot in the 2016 Playworks playwriting competition where professional directors and dramaturgs helped workshop and present her play with student actors.
The annual Educational Theatre Association (EdTA)-sponsored contest is an opportunity for Thespians to address important advocacy issues that impact theater and other arts education. Pharel is awarded a cash prize and a certificate of recognition. Thespians are students who have earned induction into the honor society for high school drama students, the International Thespian Society, established in 1929.
This year’s essay topic focused on STEAM education and why it should be part of every student’s well-rounded curriculum. The emphasis on STEM subject areas — science, technology, engineering, and math — has become increasingly common in our nation’s schools during the last several years. More recently, the acronym has gained a new letter — “A” for the arts.
Pharel wrote about the importance of persistence, risk, and failure in the sciences, adding that “Each skill in STEAM requires mass memorization and the ability to form connections through analysis. Offering young people the opportunity to form connections in multiple ways; from biology and engineering to theater, music, and writing will make analysis and problem solving more fulfilling for more students.”