Andre' Rodriguez's stirring Bobby G Awards speech

 Westminster High School Director Andre' Rodriguez. Photo by Emily Lozow.
Westminster High School Director Andre’ Rodriguez: “Our students are not defined by the struggles that many face on a daily basis, but by their hope, resilience and heart.” Photo by Emily Lozow.

One of the most stirring moments of the 2015 Bobby G Awards ceremony on Thursday was Andre’ Rodriguez’s speech after being named Outstanding Director for Westminster High School’s production of Rent.

Andre' RodriguezRodriguez has been at the school for three years. And he has been nominated for Outstanding Director all three years.

In the fall, Westminster High School will become the first school in the country to stage the Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2013 world premiere play Just Like Us. Journalist Helen Thorpe’s award-winning source novel, adapted for the stage by Karen Zacarías, tells the true story of four Denver high-school seniors, all straight-A students, two with legal status and two without, and how their opportunities become divided by their immigration status. The play will be presented by Westminster students Nov. 10-14.

“It is the perfect story for our kids because it is their story,” Rodriguez said.

Here is an excerpt from Rodriguez’s remarks at the Bobby G Awards:

Thank you for including Westminster High School among the nominees in this category. We are truly honored and grateful, not only for the nomination but to work in a district (Adams County School District 50) whose students and faculty face so many extraordinary obstacles, and yet value artistic excellence. They also appreciate the importance of performance art that casts light on life’s difficulties and triumphs.
Although our district is composed of a large percentage of first-generation Americans and undocumented citizens, where poverty, violence and struggle seem to be common themes, our students are not defined by the struggles that many face on a daily basis, but by their hope, resilience and heart. Westminster High School students are positive and creative, as they demonstrated in the community-service projects that addressed homelessness, poverty and LGBT issues that each Rent company member was asked to participate in.

We traveled to Urban Peak, a homeless center for teens; we created a “Week Without Hate” that created a dialog about acceptance; we used art to create a conversation about LGBT issues. Rent wasn’t merely a musical. Instead, it was an opportunity to use theatre for social change. It was a springboard that helped us serve our community in new and exciting ways. Collectively the members of the CenterStage Theatre Company continue to make imprints that can be passed along to those who will follow in their footsteps and I am proud of each and every one!
In addition to the cast and crew members of Rent, much of the credit for this recognition is due to the support and inspiration I have received from others over the years. Special thanks to my bride and baby boy. Thank you to my mom and my high school arts teachers like Gavin Mayer for being advocates of the arts and instilling a passion for theatre and music in me. Thanks to a great team of UNC professors – Mary Schuttler and Gillian McNally and the Westminster High School administration. It’s because of your support that I am able to use theatre as a tool for young people to better understand life and their own humanity. I want to thank my colleagues for your time and creative energy, and the Bobby G team for elevating the importance of the arts as a critical element in secondary education. To my students … Let’s keep making sweet art. This is for you!

Contact Andre’ Rodriguez at

 Westminster High School Director Andre' Rodriguez. Photo by John Moore. Westminster High School Director Andre’ Rodriguez. Photo by John Moore.

Our 2014-15 Bobby G Awards coverage to date:
Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School
Andre’ Rodriguez’s stirring Bobby G Awards speech
Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: ‘Be relentlessly yourself’
2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 
2015 Bobby G Awards announces list of participating schools
Annaleigh Ashford raises $735 for new Bobby G Awards memorial fund
Denver Center establishes Randy Weeks Memorial Fund for The Bobby G Awards