Evanston resident Marilyn Halperin this week was honored at the White House for her work founding the CPS Shakespeare! program at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

First Lady Michelle Obama presented the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in an East Room ceremony Monday.

The award recognizes the theater’s program as a national model for immersive arts-in-education programming.

CPS Shakespeare! participant Jennifer Gonzalez, a junior at Prosser Career Academy, was the student representative at the event.

Developed nine years ago by Halperin, the theater’s director of education, and stage and film director Kirsten Kelly, CPS Shakespeare! gives an inter-generational ensemble of Chicago Public Schools students and teachers — guided and supported by a team of CST theater professionals — the opportunity to master Shakespeare’s difficult text and create a fully produced play on Chicago Shakespeare’s Navy Pier stage.

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