West Orange HS fine arts teacher receives Governor’s Award

Photo Courtesy of WOSD
From left are West Orange School District supervisor of fine arts Louis Quagliato, teacher Wendy Mapes and West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School theater educator Wendy Mapes has been awarded the prestigious New Jersey Governor’s Award for Outstanding Teacher of Theater by the Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey. Mapes received the award on May 26 in Trenton. 

Established in 1980, the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education program celebrates artistic excellence and creates visibility, awareness and appreciation for the impact that the arts have on lives and culture. These awards represent the highest honor given in New Jersey, honoring the outstanding creative achievements of students, and the promotion and support of arts education by educators and arts organizations.

Mapes received the award for her exceptional service to the theater arts, teaching methodologies, discipline, creativity and leadership. 

“Ms. Mapes has given students and teachers the opportunity to flourish in theater arts, speech and communication,” Principal Hayden Moore said. “Furthermore, she has demonstrated knowledge, dedication, enthusiasm and passion for the arts in a nurturing environment. This award demonstrates her conviction to the school, students, parents, administration and community.”

Mapes graduated from Fordham University with a double major in English and Spanish literature. She took acting courses at Bank Street Theater in New York City and began acting with a Brooklyn theater company. She received a master’s degree in theater from Antioch University and The New Actor’s Workshop, working with legends such as George Morrison, Mike Nichols and Paul Sills. She trained and performed with Magis Theatre Company in several off-Broadway shows.

“Everything I’ve learned about life and theater funnels into my teaching to empower my students to become better performers and more compassionate human beings,” Mapes said.

“Wendy is an incredibly talented educator who has not only received well-deserved recognition, but who has provided the same opportunity for many of her students at WOHS,” Moore added. “She has worked to bring out the talents of her students and bring the theater program to the next level, as we see each year with the many awards and accolades our students also receive from the Thespian Society and the Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey.”

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