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Ms.Carolin awarded MIFA's Koger Award
Henry Ford II's Kirstin Carolin awarded MIFA's Bob Koger Award
Posted on 02/22/2021
A Utica Community Schools theatre teacher was honored for her innovation and leadership by a state association of peers.

Henry Ford II Theatre teacher Kirstin Carolin has been named 2021 Bob Kroger Theatre Director of the Year Award by the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association.

The award was presented as part of the MIFA Online Theater Festival on February 13 in front of hundreds of spectators, including state student competitors, directors and consultants. 

“She is a role model for all of us,” said Fernanda Hernandez, a senior at Henry Ford II High School who plans to be a theatre teacher in her future. “She is so supportive of her students and will do everything she can to give us more opportunities.”

Carolin’s criteria for nomination was well supported by her peers. Highlighted specifically was her commitment to making theatre possible during a year in which many of the arts, and education in general, has been severely affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Specifically, Carolin helped to create the MIFA Online Theatre Festival., an event that will likely continue to the future for schools who may not have the resources to travel a show to the adjudicated event. 

Multiple nominations also spoke to her ability to forge into new and artistic directions with her theatre program at Henry Ford II: “Ms. Carolin is thoughtful, genuine, and willing to take risks that push the boundaries of high school theatre and keep students engaged in relevant, artistic expression.”

The Bob Koger Award recognizes the tireless efforts to promote high school theatre embodied by the award’s namesake. Mr. Koger was a longtime coach, director and mentor in the St. Johns, MI public school system. He taught hundreds of students in theatre arts. 

After retirement, Koger remained active in MIFA Theatre Festivals, returning to present the award many times from his retirement home in Arizona. Nominees for this award are expected to exhibit the highest professional standards. The Bob Koger Award acknowledges the hard work, innovation and sacrifice, and celebrates the outstanding directors of high school theatre in Michigan.

In addition to directing a highly competitive and regarded program, Carolin also serves the MIFA community as the Chair of the Theatre Committee and as a representative on the MIFA Board of Directors.

A 22-year teacher in UCS, Carolin has taught theatre at Henry Ford II for the past six years. The school’s next production will be Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The virtual production will be performed March 26 and 27 at 7:00 pm and On Demand using AnyWhere Seat.