Extraordinary Teen Awards 2017

This years winners are pouring their talents into humanitarian work, the arts, environmental protection, social justice and dreams of Olympic gold.

Photo by Erick Gibson

Jessica Gliot

Bishop O’Connell High School

When Jessica Gliot turned 12, she used her birthday money to buy a sewing machine. In the years that followed, she created nearly 40 costumes for theater productions at Bishop O’Connell.

However, sewing isn’t her only talent. Gliot had a hand in virtually every production that O’Connell staged during her four years there, whether that meant starring in the lead role, building stage sets or designing costumes and makeup charts. “Jill-of-all-trades doesn’t even do her justice,” says Sara Zimmerman, O’Connell’s drama director. In addition to her masterful wardrobe and set designs, “She wowed audiences with her singing in The Sound of Music, her dancing in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and her dramatic turn as Ann Putnam in The Crucible.” All while maintaining a GPA north of 4.0 and writing critical reviews for The Cappie’s, a writing and awards program for high school theater and journalism students.

Gliot grew up moving every three years because her father was in the military (he now works at the Pentagon). “I was born in Virginia. My family moved from there to Hawaii, and then back to Virginia, and then to England, and then back to Virginia,” says the Falls Church teen. Theater is where she found happiness.

“It gives me a chance to step out of my own life and step into someone else’s skin,” Gliot explains. “I only have my character’s concerns to worry about when I go onstage. And I like to bring joy to other people.” Her favorite role so far? The witch in this spring’s production of Into the Woods.

Outside of school, the 18-year-old is active in her home parish, St. James Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir, serves as a cantor and helps with charitable food distribution. In the fall, she’ll head to DeSales University in Pennsylvania to study musical theater and possibly fi lm.

Zimmerman expects great things from a student she describes as funny and hip, welcoming and graceful, but also an old soul: “She’s a beautiful person, inside and out, who has so many levels of surprise to her.”

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