June 20 – While being honored for both her service and a recent national recognition, Marie Jagger-Taylor channeled a famous awards show acceptance speech.
“In the words of Sally Field, all I can say is ‘You like me,’” Jagger-Taylor said after being recognized by the Decatur Park District Board of Commissioners at its Wednesday meeting.
Jagger-Taylor, the district’s Cultural Arts manager, was named an Honorable Mention winner of the Excellence in Theater Education Award presented by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.
Her students Becca Allgeier, Amanda Allgeier and Chloe Clark nominated “Ms. Marie” for the award. All three attended Wednesday’s meeting.
“Thinking ‘nobody else’s name belongs on a Tony Award more than Ms. Marie,’ I started filling out all the info. We made a two-minute video telling all the things we love about Ms. Marie and why she’s such an amazing teacher, such an awesome role model,” said Becca Allgeier.
Clark read from her nomination letter:
“Since I was 7, I’ve been working with Marie. I’ve never met someone so kind, determined, open-minded and energetic,” she said. “Marie has shaped me into the person I am today. She’s made me kind, she’s made me strong-willed and she’s taught me everything I know and love about theater.
“She’s given me and many other children the opportunity to show our love for the arts to our community and keep the arts alive. We all tell Ms. Marie how much we love her every day. Deciding to nominate her for this award was our way to show our love to her.”
Park District Executive Director Bill Clevenger raved about Jagger-Taylor’s service and dedication.
“You just can’t say enough good things about Marie Jagger-Taylor. She does a phenomenal job and has from the day she walked in this district,” said Clevenger. “There are people that individuals gravitate to that you see throughout your career, and she’s one of those people that she makes everybody around her better.”
Jamie Gower, Director of Recreation and Facilities, said the students nominated Jagger-Taylor without her knowledge, and she almost overlooked her notification.
“When I got the email that said I had been nominated for this award, I thought it was spam. So I deleted it,” she said.
“Thank you to the Park District for your belief in me and the opportunity that you give us to have arts here, because I know that a lot of communities don’t support the arts.”
Board President Chris Harrison echoed that thought.
“Like you said, it’s a program that’s not in all communities and we’re very fortunate to have it here,” he said. “But we’re more so fortunate to have somebody that’s so devoted to it.”