2016 Virginia Budge Award Recipients

Megan Hirka -  Theatre 

Megan Hirka is currently in 8th grade at Sacred Heart School, and is thrilled to be the youngest person to ever receive the Virginia Budge Award.  Megan’s love for theatre began at a very young age.  She has been involved in numerous productions including:  Les Miserables (Gavroche); The Lion King, Jr. (Rafiki); Shrek the Musical (Princess Fiona); Beauty and The Beast (Belle); The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow); Peter Pan (Tinkerbell); The Sound of Music (Liesl); Godspell (soloist); Schoolhouse Rock (Dina); and Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate (Peggy).  Most recently, Megan attended the Cincinnati Children’s Theatre STAR Intensive NKU Camp.  In November of 2016, Megan will be appearing as Ruby in the original play Purple Paint by Bridget Ossmann.  Megan would like to thank all of the members of the Virginia Budge Award Committee for this honor, and hopes that this is just the beginning of a long and prosperous career in musical theatre.

Molly Sizemore -  Visual Arts

Although the Virginia Budge Award is open to many facets of fine arts education for area students, Molly Abigail Sizemore, graduate of Lakota East High School didn’t hesitate to apply for the 2016 scholarship, naming architectural engineering, studio fine arts and photography as her interests.  Earning much recognition for her efforts during the high school years, she found time to volunteer a lot of her time in her community. One of her teachers, at Lakota East, Linda Augutis, wrote that Molly  . . . “is a refreshing young lady and works hard on her own to obtain her goals.” “Also,” Augutis added, “Molly is always willing to help others. She works at a part-time retail job in addition to her numerous school extracurricular clubs in which she participates.”            Molly’s experience in working on her own, she served as a child care provider, looking after various employers’ children, and along with those efforts she added  a certification with the American Red and a second certification in applying the Heimlich maneuver, including becoming certified in rescue breathing.  Tisha Grote, Ph.D., who taught  classes  in U. S, Government,  wrote “Molly is a cut above the rest. .  . . she was one of my shining stars among my 25 juniors and seniors.” Among thirty and one-half hours of volunteering, Molly gave time to the following organizations: Crayons to Computers, Cincinnati; Mathew 25 Ministries, as well as Children’s Hospital, and many others.  “Molly will, without a doubt,” said Grote, “follow her goals to completion.”

                    Lydia Davis -  Dance

Sixteen-year-old Lydia Davis was delighted to receive The Virginia Budge Award for 2016, in her march toward becoming a professional dancer. The award is aimed at assisting fine arts student in the goal in the world of the arts. Beginning her climb aimed at her goal, she three years in Creative dance classes with Susan Moser at Tanza.                                                                                                                    Barely taking a breath between her reach for more expertise in her field, she turned her dancing attention to ballet, modern, pointe and jazz. Lydia has said her “biggest historical influence is Maria Tallchief, a Native American Osage Tribe.”  Tallchief studied and worked in New York City with George Balanchine.         Lydia Davis, has received praise from her instructors and teachers as she became a teaching volunteer with disabled dancers and other classes in dance for adults. Ballet instructor at Miami Valley Ballet Theatre, Kodee Van Nort, said of Lydia: “I commend her efforts in wanting to better herself. . . .I would be more than willing to sing her praise.”                                                                                                     After graduation from Hamilton High School, Lydia plans to attend North University and major in dance.                                                                                      Brittany Blevins Belew, who knew Lydia many years, said: “She is the student that others that others students want to work with because of her academic dedication and positive attitude.”   

2015 Virginia Budge Award Recipients

Michael Hughes - Music Composition

Michael Hughes is currently a 17-year-old junior at Talawanda High School. Michael lives in Oxford, Ohio. He has had an interest in music since his parents gave him an illustrated musical encyclopedia at age 2 and supplied Michael with musical toys like a guitar, bongos and a saxophone. From these toys Michael turned to the real thing at age seven by taking piano lessons. 

By the time Michael was in sixth grade he had moved on to trombone. In seventh grade Hughes started writing small melodies on the piano. By his sophomore year he began writing full orchestral pieces, jazz lead sheets, and complex electronic pieces on his computer. Michael is considering a career in music commercial production.

Haley Stevens - Musical Theatre 

Haley Stevens is currently attending Lakota East High Scholl in West Chester, Ohio. Haley’s passion for the performing arts is evident in her various roles in an extensive list of plays afew of witch include; “Cinderella,”  “Junie B. Jones,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and La Camedia Dinner Theatre’s production of “Mary Poppins.”  

Miss Stevens has also received Lakota East’s “Outstanding Freshman Female Vocalist” award for 2015”  and a #1 rating at the “OMEA Solo and Ensemble” competition 2012, 2013, 2014,and 2015.  Haley is considering a career in musical theatre and/or music education.

2014 Virginia Budge Award Recipients

Amanda Adams – Graphic Arts/Fine Arts

Amanda Adams will graduate from Edgewood High School in 2014 and plans to attend Ohio State University in the fall.  Her area of concentration is Fine Arts with an emphasis on the Graphic Arts.  She is designated “Gifted in Art.”

Amanda has received many awards and recognitions including: Artist of the Month, Best in Show awards and several first and second-place awards 2009-2013 and has designed many logos for tee-shirts and posters. One of her goals is to intern with Disney and Pixar as an illustrator. Amanda thanks her high school art teacher for pushing her out of her comfort zone and inspiring her to stretch.

Amanda will use the VBA to help pay for the expense of costly design software and equipment.


Samuel Beiting – Musical Composer

Samuel Beiting will attend the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music for a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Music Production in the fall of 2014. While composing is Samuel’s concentration, he is also an accomplished pianist and saxophone player. 

While attending Lakota East High School, Samuel performed with the symphonic band, concert band, and jazz band. Among his awards and recognitions are: superior ratings on class A solos at the Solo and Ensemble Contest, lead alto in the All State Jazz Ensemble, and the Star Award for excellence in the Symphonic Band.

Samuel plans on using the VBA scholarship funds for his tuition to the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

Emily Prochaska – Bassoonist

Emily Prochaska is presently attending Talawanda High School and upon her graduation in 2015, Emily plans to obtain a M.A. and D.M.A.  Her hope is to become a bassoon and music theory professor in a college or university. 

Emily performs with Talawanda’s Concert Band and has taken music theory courses at Miami University. Among Emily’s many accomplishments are: receiving a superior rating at the OME Solo Contest, Outstanding Talawanda Concert Band Member, and the Jack and Audrey Confer Scholarship.

Emily has been accepted to travel to Luxembourg to participate in the Vianden International Chamber Music Festival. She plans to use the VBA funds toward travel expenses.

2013 Virginia Budge Award Recipients

Stephanie Young - Dance

Stephanie Young is a high school senior and will be graduating from Butler Tech School of the Arts and Hamilton High School.   She is the valedictorian at Butler Tech School of the Arts and will be graduating in the top ten percent of the Hamilton High School student body.  Stephanie has been a dancer for 15 years.  Her dance education has been acquired from Next Generation Dance, Miami Valley Ballet Theatre and Butler Tech School of the Arts. 

She will be pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in Jazz, at Marymount Manhattan College of Liberal Arts in New York City.  Stephanie plans to further her education and continue to develop her dance knowledge and technique.  Stephanie’s goal for the future is to become a professional dancer on Broadway.


Abigail Tompkins - Musical Theatre

Abigail Tompkins will be a junior at Hamilton High School during the 2013-2014 school year. Currently, she is secretary of the Sophomore Senate and a member of National Honor Society, the HHS's drama department Big Blue Company, and Rhapsody in Blue show choir. She has received Honor Roll consecutively for two years. Abby’s studies voice and piano at the West Chester Academy of Music and Dance and has been involved with drama and musical theater since 5th grade.

Some of Abby’s theatrical roles include; Maria in The Big Blue Company's production of The Sound of Music, Mama Euralie in Encore Summer Youth Theatre's 2013 production of Once on This Island, Maria in The Sound of Music,  Catherine in The Foreigner, and Simeon's Wife in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Abby will use this award to go toward dancing and acting lessons to further improve her craft in the area of performing arts. She would like to thank the Virginia Budge Award Committee, her music director Christina Fox, her drama director Meggorie Haven, all her theatre friends, and of course her family.




Luke Lentini - Violin

Violinist Luke Lentini is a junior at Talawanda High School in Oxford, Ohio, where he is a member of the National Honor Society and Junior Class President. He performs as a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.  Luke has received First Prize in the Young Artist Competition sponsored by the Richmond (IN) Symphony Orchestra, the Gino Di Mario Scholarship and has also been awarded the Cincinnati Symphony Club Scholarship.

He is currently a student of Harold Byers of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Preparatory Department. As a student at CCM Prep.  Luke began studying violin at age 3, studying with Elaine Davies-Osterbur in Michigan and with Julian D. Meyer in Philadelphia.  He has been a member of the Cincinnati Junior Strings, where he performed on tour in New Zealand and Australia. He was also a member of the Youth Orchestra of Central New Jersey.  In the summer of 2011, Luke traveled to France to study violin under the tutelage of Olivier Charlier at the Académie Internationale d’été de Nice.

Luke also has gained intensive leadership training and community service experience through his participation in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program at both the state and international level and People to People World Leadership Program in Washington, D.C.  Luke Lentini is a 3-year varsity letter winner and competitive swimmer at Talawanda High School, and has competed for the last 7 years in USA Swimming as a member of the Miami Valley Swim Aquatic Club.  Luke’s goals are to enter college as a dual major in music performance and computer science.  

2012 Virginia Budge Award Recipients 

 Becky Roetker

Becky Roetker lives in Fairfield, and will be a senior at Fairfield High School next year.   She is an honor student, with a 4.0 GPA and is involved in many extracurricular activities, including performing in school plays and participating in school clubs like National Honor Society, French Club, Chemistry Club and the Thespian Society.

Becky comes from a long line of scientists with 11 engineers or scientists in her immediate family.  But,  she has her heart set on a path in the fine arts field.   She has already begun to apply her skills as an apprentice artist at Artworks, where young artists work with professional artists to create public art in the Cincinnati community on buildings, in hospitals and other public spaces.  Last year, Becky worked with a team to create 64 pieces of art for the Ronald MacDonald house, and this summer was hired again to create set designs for the Cincinnati Children's Theater, which will be seen by over 10,000 school children. 

Becky's art has won several awards, including Silver Keys in Scholastic Art and Writing Competition and one of her pieces was last year's youth national first place winner for the Art for Animals/National Anti-Vivisection Society. 

Becky is currently planning to major in Graphic Design, but hasn't chosen a college yet.  

Noah Lentini

Noah is an 8th grader at Talawanda Middle School.  As a busy actor he has recently been seen as Son of the Starving Man in The Grapes of Wrath at The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and as Prince Chulalongkorn in The Carnegie’s production of The King and I. The past two holiday seasons he portrayed Boy Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, at The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. This past fall he performed in the CCM Theatre Department’s main stage production of Coram Boy, where he performed the role of The Voice. He was also featured in Miami University Hamilton’s production of Coal Dust and Good Dirt and played Claude in the Fairfield Footlighters 2009 production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  

Noah studies acting and ballet at CCM Prep and has been seen in Frog and Toad, Grease Jr., The Last Dragon of Camelot, Seussical Jr., and Into The Woods Jr. His film credits include: Brett, in The Field Trip (National Underground Railroad Freedom Center), and Young Ben in the movie Unrequited (Lucky Day Studios) He also appears in the Parables series (Golden Path Productions).

He plans to use his scholarship money to attend the Perry–Mansfield Performing Arts Camp this summer in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.



Logan Fox

Hamilton High School student Logan Fox is a winner of one of three 2012 recipients of the Virginia Budge Awards for Fine Arts.

Fox , who performed a cello piece for his audition,  is a member of the Hamilton Fairfield Youth Orchestra, the Dayton Youth Strings and is a pit orchestra player  for the Community Theater.

He believes, he said that music is an unspoken language. That it communicates a story, reveals emotion, and will even move a person to the point of changing their life.

“I will never get to personally interact with ever person in the world; but the language of music certainly makes that goal more attainable. Through music I can ssssssseffectively share my life with other people and maybe help to reveal insight to a life of their own

“It s this communication that brings people together and helps us to realize the true meaning of community. My interest in music is just one role on a step to achieving that community.”

Fox plans to use his scholarship funds for music camp.

2011 Virginia Budge Award Recipients

Lauren Kolas

“I plan to balance my singing, dancing and acting with my grades so I will be graduating (from high school) with a 4.0,” said Lauren. Her plans for college in the fall of 2012 include enrolling as a performance major. Even at her young age, she volunteers in many areas in the community, performing in nursing homes and raising funds for African children


Danielle Grimes

17, plans to use some of her award funds to push forward her studies as an artist. “I have a huge passion for art and I can’t picture myself doing anything else.” Art, she believes, is in everything around, wherever one goes.

 Gerald Hopper

16, a dedicated theater lover, has spent much of his high school time performing and working on costumes, makeup and hair styling for theatre productions. In addition, he performs as a vocalist in many shows. He plans to go to a “great fashion and cosmetology school in New York City,” he said. Within his goals is to become “a successful and productive member of society.”

2010 Virginia Budge Award Recipients


Rachel Brown

Violinist, has been taking violin lessons since she was in kindergarten, beginning at Mehas Music for kindergarten and continuing to this date with the Center for the Arts in Wyoming. Orchestra concertmaster for the seventh and eighth grades, she will attend Fairfield High School next year.  “Whether I ultimately decide to major in music or not, I definitely plan to continue to study music because I believe music sets people free. . . .The ability to play an instrument gives me freedom, at any time, to sit down, drag a bow across the strings and forget everything that’s going on.”

Julie Vash

Artist, will graduate from Lakota East High School this year, brought her expertise in art to the application process for the Virginia Budge Award. Among many honors and awards, Julie has earned are this year’s governor’s art show regional recognition award and the Scholastic Silver Key Award. One of her paintings was also chosen to hang in the new Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Liberty Campus. “Her drawing of a chair in the sunlight titled ‘Morning,’ earned a Silver Award,” said one of her teachers, Linda Augutis, of the AP Studio at Lakota East. Julie is an extraordinary artist.


Helen Mullen

Fairfield Middle School eighth grader, whose goal is to achieve a music education degree. “ I can’t visualize myself anywhere except the stage." Helen has already a taste of the stage, having appeared in the chorus of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” and performed in “Lion King,” “Jungle Book,” “he Sound of Music,” “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie Junior.” “Helen,” said music teacher, Melody Wallace, “. . .is always excited about life and music and performing and continually has the next idea for a project. I wish every student would be that eager.”