State Thespian Officers (STO) are the student voice of the governing organization. They spend much of their year planning our State Events and traveling to represent New Jersey Thespians on a National Level
James is equally excited and grateful to be serving as an STO for a second year! As an avid participant in the arts, James splits his time between being a dedicated crew, and cast member. Through getting the best of both worlds, James loves being involved with sound and marketing crew, while performing in some of his favorite shows: Beauty and the Beast (Beast), The Addams Family (Gomez Addams), and The Drowsy Chaperone (Aldolpho). Additionally, James sings with the NJ All-State Mixed Choir, is Vice President of his school’s student body, is president of Thespian troupe #7161, and is a member of the National Honor Society! His hobbies include watching Big Brother and Survivor, his favorite shows, and sleeping-in! James can’t wait to meet other passionate theatre-lovers at NJ Thesfest, and to advocate for the arts in the upcoming year!
Annika is honored to represent Ridge High School as an STO and President of Troupe 7742 this year! Beyond performing in, stage managing, and publicizing productions, Annika enjoys creating short films, teaching Zumba dance fitness, and is active in Tri M Music Honor Society, the National Honor Society, competitive Latin Club, and RHS’s competitive Honors A Cappella Choir as Soprano II Section Leader. Favorite credits include High School Musical (Sharpay), the world premiere of Bring It On JR (Eva), and Peter and the Starcatcher (Molly), for which she received the 2018 MSU Foxy Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy. She is ecstatic to be serving on the NJ Thespian Student Board and can’t wait to make a difference in her community and create an unforgettable festival experience for all thespian troupes!
ISABEL VAN WAGNER
Isabel is a senior at Ewing High school and proudly represents Troupe 4883. Isabel has been an active member of ITS since her freshman and could not be more excited to represent her fellow troupe members as a NJ STO this year! Isabel found her passion for theater in elementary school after participating in numerous summer camps and has been on the stage ever since. Outside of theater Isabel is heavily in the high school choir and youth group program at Nassau Presbyterian Church. Isabel can’t wait for state festival this year and plans to make it her best one yet!
Jack proudly represents Troupe 7161 from Robbinsville High School, and is beyond thrilled to be a member of the 2019-2020 NJ STO Board! As a lover of theater in every which way, Jack partakes in both cast and crew. Throughout his high school career, Jack has gotten particularly close with costume design, as well as the stage, and has been seen in some of his favorite shows: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (William Barfee), Beauty and the Beast (LeFou), and She Kills Monsters (Orcus). Additionally, Jack is the Improv Captain of his troupe, the Social Director of the Executive Council, and is a member of the National Honor Society. During his free time, you may find Jack locked in his room with the lights off watching Black Mirror and eating Hot Cheetos. Finally, Jack is ecstatic to be a part of a community that advocates for the arts in such an inspiring way!
Toms River HS East
Julia Zulin is utterly ecstatic to be representing Toms River HS East and Troupe 3459 on the 2019-2020 STO board alongside one of her best friends, Nick Evgeniou! As a senior, she is the President of Troupe 3459, and she is the Executive of Eastside Theatre Company. When not on stage, Julia can be found shopping, performing in her car to pedestrians, babysitting, playing with her dog, and/or drinking lemonade. Julia is an active member of Student Council (Student Body Recording Secretary and Class Rep), NHS, East Ambassadors, and Peer Leadership. She is on the editorial staff for the Raider Readout, and she is the film manager for TRE’s varsity football team! Some of her favorite credits include Young Frankenstein, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Oklahoma!, both on stage and on hair/makeup crew. Julia absolutely cannot wait to work alongside such an incredible group of people; she is so excited for what this year will bring with NJ Thespians!!
Toms River North HS
Sarah Gascho is proud to represent Troupe #7455 from Toms River High School North! Her credits include Bring It On (Tech/Backstage Crew), The Addams Family (Backstage Crew, Props Master), The Grinch (Grinch), Pippin (Backstage Crew, Props Master), and Shrek (Stage Manager). She served as the Vice President of the Nautical Star Theatre Co. in 2018-19, and now serves as President of Troupe #7455 for the 2019-20 year. Offstage, she is involved in activities such as National Honor Society, Polaris Art and Literature Magazine of TRN, and multiple community service organizations. As of right now, she’s probably watching Netflix or listening to music from 40 years ago.
Kyle Bussone-Peterson is a senior at Hightstown High School and is beyond excited to be on the 2019-2020 NJ STO board. Kyle is the President of Troupe 3991 as well as the Drama Club President. He enjoys working on and off stage performing in him schools productions of shows like Romeo and Juliet and The Wiz as well as helping to create set pieces. When now on the stage you can see Kyle as Kyle also is a proud member of the Varsity Golf team, GSA, and Peer Group Connections. Kyle is thrilled to have been given this opportunity to work with the amazing STO students from around New Jersey.
Wildwood Catholic HS
Lena Dougherty, a junior at Wildwood Catholic High School, is extremely excited to be a part of the 2019-2020 NJ STO Board! Some of her favorite stage credits include Sweet Charity (Nickie), Dear Edwina (Edwina), The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), and Honeymoon in Vegas (Bea/Dance Captain). Lena has also enjoyed assistant directing and choreographing shows such as Mamma Mia, The Great Gatsby, and Junie B. Jones. When she’s not on stage, Lena can be found serving on her school’s student council, volunteering within her community and advocating for inclusion in the arts. Lena can’t wait for an amazing festival and an even more incredible year! Instagram: @lena.dougherty
Morris Cty. Institute of Technology
Aaron Carr is a senior at the Morris County School of Technology, Troupe 7890. He was the President of his troupe during his Junior year. He enjoys working as an Actor, Stage Manager, Props/Set Master, and much more for the various productions his school puts on, ranging from plays to dance concerts. His favorite role he played was Angus Tuck in the musical Tuck Everlasting. He loves to work in all mediums of art, especially sculpture and film. He is also an active part of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. In his free time, he loves to listen to music, play video games, read, and do yoga! He is so excited to be working with the New Jersey Thespians to develop his skills in order to make theater more recognized and appreciated by everyone.
Brianna is a senior at Ewing High School and she is honored to be an STO for a second year! She is involved in ITS, Choir, National Honors Society, and almost every club at her school, along with being the president and founder of Ewing High’s first ever Black Student Alliance. Along with that, she is very involved in her church, she sings and plays piano and also does community service. Brianna is also an active member of the NAACP ACT-SO program and made it to Nationals singing a musical theatre piece! She hopes to pursue a career in musical theatre and she hopes to make her last ThesFest the best one yet!
Cherry Hill HS West
Jon Balagtas is a senior at Cherry Hill High School West and is very excited to serve on the NJ STO Board this year. At West, he is currently serving as the Vice President for Technical Theatre for Troupe 1128 and the stage manager for various West Theatre productions. When he is not calling cues or in rehearsal, he works on set construction, running crew, props, lighting, and/or sound. His favorite credits include Chicago: High School Edition (production stage manager and set construction) and 110 Stories (stage manager and lighting designer). Outside of theatre, he is a member of the NHS, SHF, Peer Leaders, and the Principal's Advisory Student Council. In his (very little) free time, he enjoys reading and writing. Jon can't wait to share his passion for theatre with others and looks forward to an amazing year with his fellow STOs!
Northern Burlington Co. Reg. HS
Jocelyn Jeffries is an accomplished student at Northern Burlington High School where she is joyfully the secretary of Troupe 4762. She is excited to serve as a 2019-2020 STO, and looks forward to helping plan next year’s Thespian Festival among many other amazing events with her fellow STOs. Jocelyn has a wide range of interests, including but not limited to, crafting, film making, and baking. She greatly enjoyed being the prop manager for two shows so far, Little Women of Orchard House and Jesus Christ Superstar. Additionally, Jocelyn is a Junior Captain of her NJDFL (New Jersey Drama and Forensics League) troupe as well as an avid member of Odyssey of the Mind, among many other clubs. She looks forward to the props she will make, the films she will create, and the cupcakes she will bake (and share).
Northern Burlington Co. Reg. HS
Toby Wilderotter is a senior at Northern Burlington County Regional High School. He is currently the President of his home Thespian troupe, as well as a major contributor to Northern’s drama and forensics team, and is proudly involved in Northern productions. Outside of theatre, Toby is a member of GSA, the National Honors Society, and is involved in the Boy Scouting program. You can usually find him crying over Netflix or belting as loud as he can at 3 in the morning. Toby is so excited to be a member of the STO team, and can’t wait for a wonderful year!
Toms River East HS
@NickEvgeniou is a junior at Toms River HS East and is proudly representing Thespian Troupe 3459 alongside one of his favorite people, Julia Zulin! He is an active member in his school community, and is serving as a Student Ambassador, the Student Body Corresponding Secretary, and as the Vice President of his class. In the theater, he holds the position of Technical Liaison for the Eastside Theatre Company, Vice President of Troupe 3459, all while marketing, and stage managing shows such as A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum, Oklahoma!, and A Christmas Carol. When he gets a day off he typically spends it taking photos, and/or spending quality time with his fish Pericles. Nick cannot wait to work alongside the other rockstar STO’s this year, and he hopes you enjoy the show! Oh wait…
Katie Harrigan is a senior at Bayonne High School and proudly serves as President or Troupe 5093! She’s been in love with theatre and acting ever since she was little, and has done productions with the Bayonne High School Drama Society since second grade. She has performed in Clue, 1776, Mamma Mia and many more productions. Katie is beyond excited to be working with all of the wonderfully talented STOs.
Egg Harbor Twp. HS
Ted Guzman is extremely thrilled to be a part of the 2019-2020 NJ STO Board. He attends Egg Harbor Township High School and is President of Troupe 3993. He is an active member of his school’s clubs: Thespian Honor Society, Vocal Ensemble, and National Honor Society. His favorite theatre credits include Mary Poppins (Bert), Legally Blonde (Emmett), and Mamma Mia (Sam). Ted’s favorite musicals are Once on this Island and Miss Saigon. In his free time, Ted could be found watching ASMR videos on Youtube.