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fabg Lee Strebel Award Winner 2019 Raia Gutman with parents Wendy and Aron Gutman and IHS Drama Teacher Lorraine TinoLee Strebel Award Winner 2019 Raia Gutman with parents Wendy and Aron Gutman and IHS Drama Teacher Lorraine Tino
Raia Gutman was named as the recipient of the 2019 Lee Strebel Memorial Award for Enthusiasm in the Performing Arts. Gutman accepted the award at the Ithaca High School (IHS) Underclassmen Awards Night, June 4, 2019 in IHS Performing Arts Center's Kulp Auditorium. The Lee Strebel Memorial Award is presented each year to an IHS student who has not only participated in performing arts at the high school level, but has shown extraordinary spirit in that pursuit. 

The award is given in loving memory of Lee Strebel, an IHS student who died suddenly during his freshman year in February 2006. In his short time at the high school, Lee became a standout in the drama department after playing the leading role of George Gibbs in Our Town.

"Lee was a promising young actor to be sure, but what made him so well-loved was his constant smile, great work ethic, support for his peers and an unshakeable positive mental attitude. It is hoped that the recipient of this award will continue to demonstrate many of the same attributes, and recognize that although skills may be handed out in various amounts, our attitude and effort are completely under our control," notes the Strebel family.

Ithaca High School Drama teacher Lorraine Tino praised Gutman, noting, "Raia Gutman is just finishing her 9th grade year at IHS and she already distinguished herself as an important member of our theater community. She approaches every acting role with commitment whether the role is large or small.  She has taken a leadership role by serving on our show selection committee which has the important task of furthering student voice and choice in our program. Raia is intelligent, hardworking, and positive."

The Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG), an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), works with the high school drama staff and the Strebel family to present this award.

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