New Roads High School sophomores Amanda Gorman and Alex Thorland have both earned high-profile accolades that will take them all the way to New York City this spring; Gorman for her student leadership, and Thorland for his acting prowess.

Gorman, founding member of the New Roads’ chapter of Girls Learn International (GLI), was selected by youth advocacy group SustainUS as a delegate to the United Nation’s 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

“Amanda came running into my classroom shouting ‘Guess what?’ the day she found out that she was selected as a delegate,” said Alexandra Padilla, faculty mentor for GLI. “Amanda first learned about the UN’s conference through our connection to GLI but she found this opportunity and applied on her own.”

Student actor Thorland took first place in the finals for the English Speaking Union’s (ESU) National Shakespeare Competition, a school-based performance program for the study of English language arts and Shakespeare. Competing students read, analyze, perform and recite Shakespearean monologues and sonnets in three qualifying stages resulting in a national champion.

Students from 25 Los Angeles area schools were represented at the semi-final competition in February at Marlborough School in Los Angeles, where Thorland delivered a poignant performance of “Henry V’s” St. Crispin Day Speech and Sonnet 130 to secure one of just six slots in the finals.

The six finalists competed on March 8 at the Shakespeare Club in Pasadena, where Alex won first place and the opportunity to compete in ESU’s National Competition in New York City from April 27-29.

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