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Skillern earns Polly Holliday Award, scholarship from SETC

Bob Jones actress Olivia Skillern earned the Polly Holliday Award from the Southeastern Theatre Conference. (CONTRIBUTED)
Bob Jones actress Olivia Skillern earned the Polly Holliday Award from the Southeastern Theatre Conference. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Olivia Skillern, a Bob Jones High School senior, has received the Polly Holliday Award and scholarship from the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC).

Students from 10 southeastern states applied for the award.

A Jasper native, Holliday earned notoriety as the sassy waitress Flo on the 1970s’ hit sitcom, “Alice.” An SETC member, Holliday started acting with Asolo Theatre Company in Sarasota, Fla.

“I was very excited and surprised I had won the award, especially since there are so many applicants,” Skillern said. “It’s a huge blessing and honor to be personally chosen by Polly Holliday.”

With the award, Skillern will receive $440 for SETC conference fees and expenses stipend, along with a scholarship for $1,000 for college tuition.

Skillern decided to pursue theatre after drama instructor Mary Davis first cast her in “Guys and Dolls.” Skillern is the only actor to appear in competition one-act plays for the past three years. She has performed in 11 productions.

While most schools offer two annual productions, Bob Jones produces four advanced and four lower-level productions. “This has given me more opportunity than I would ever have had if I weren’t a Patriot Player,” Skillern said. “Being in theatre was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

“Training and guidance from Dwayne Craft and Mrs. Davis instilled a passion for performing within me and has helped me grow into the person I am today,” Skillern said. “I can’t imagine my life without theatre, which is why I’m going to continue my pursuit of acting in college.”

Winner of numerous art awards, Skillern has served as National Art Honor Society president and joined the International Thespians Honor Society and Destination Imagination.

“Olivia is not only amazingly talented but humble. She received 30 on her ACT and maintains a 4.0 GPA,” Davis said. “She is waiting on scholarship notifications from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of South Alabama.

Olivia’s parents are Jeff and Lisa Skillern. He is safety manager at Jack Daniels Distillery. She teaches second-graders in Madison.

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