• Hello CT Educators and Administrators!

    The Verge Awards are launching a new nationwide movement to celebrate creative and technical teens—just as we do our amazing high school athletes... and YOU can help lead the movement!

  • Hello! I’m Linda Neaton, founder of The Verge Awards® for Teens on the Verge of Greatness! based here in Milford CT, inviting all of CT's educators to help us launch never-been-done-before, FREE public high school talent contests that award prizes and scholarships to winning students and funding to their schools for STEAM education!


    The CT Public High School Championships in singing, music, dance, visual & media arts, technology and innovation, and even comedy and novelty acts--the first statewide championships in the nation-- will be held APRIL 23, 2020 at The Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT, with production by Live Nation!


    We're awarding $10,000 in CASH AND PRIZES to winning students, and hopefully much more to their schools from contest sponsors like Travelers Insurance! (But not to worry, you will never be asked to recognize sponsors in any way.)


    And get this - multi-platinum, Grammy nominated, People’s Choice, CMA and Teen Choice Award winning artist Hunter Hayes has volunteered to join us! (He’s a huge supporter of music education). Hunter will mentor the singing finalists during the week leading up to the event, and he’s assembling a backing band of high school musicians to perform his 5x Platinum song "Wanted" with him! What a life-changing experience for these aspiring musicians!

  • We are also auditioning for four(4) additional performance opportunities at the Oakdale Theatre, issuing numerous visual & media arts and music production challenges, and even assembling a statewide pep squad of student leaders!


    It’s worth repeating--there is absolutely NO COST FOR STUDENTS TO ENTER! And many of these could qualify for your capstone and community service programs.


    We hope every educator and administrator in CT will encourage your students to enter the contests, and then rally your entire student body, parents and even broader community members to vote for your contestants in the weeks leading up to the main event. Sign up for our educator mailig list and you'll receive our communications toolkit and access webinars that will walk you through the contests.


    The deadlines for these opportunities range from February 15th-March 15th, so I hope you'll do three quick things right now:

    1. Sign up here to receive email updates, communication tools and more: Educator mailing list. (The more who do, the more sponsorship funds we can raise for grants to schools!)
    2. Tell your students, parents and other educators! Download and print/forward this flyer: CT Contest Flyer
    3. Post this link on your school's website: https://www.thevergeawards.com/

    If you'd like to learn more, following are resources that will likely answer many of the questions you may have:


      Summary of all contests

      Download contest guidelines

      Read Educator FAQ's

      Download our communications toolkit (Coming soon!)

      Email us


      We know you’re crazy busy, so why should you participate?


      For your student contestants:

      • Sure, they can win cash and other prizes, but there are so many other benefits!
      • This will be an experience of a lifetime! State finalists will perform or present their final entries on stage, in front of 4,500 supportive fans and celebrities like Hunter Hayes, at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre!
      • They may be discovered by college and other talent recruiters (many of whom will be in the audience)! All contestants may opt in (at no cost) to showcase their abilities to pre-screened recruiters that subscribe to our contestant database.
      • Your more reserved or even disengaged students will feel empowered and encouraged to discover tap and into their full creative potential as you demonstrate your support of their unique passions & abilities
      • They’ll be appreciated for their talents and hear applause from their peers, families, and communities – often for the first time! 
      • They will experience the excitement of competition!  Much like athletic competitions, they’ll establish goals and reap the benefits of practice and persistence; and not to worry, a loss will help them build resilience and fuel their determination to improve.
      • For the prestige of competing in and maybe even winning a Verge Award, which can even bolster their college applications and other auditions.

      For your broader student body and school culture:

      • Provide an engaging, enriching, truly uplifting high school experience for all students
      • Increase mutual respect among all students
      • Engage parents in a positive, unifying program
      • Increase community engagement in school activities, and much more

        Three easy ways educators and administrators can help make this a huge success:

        We’re sure you have some amazing talent in your school, whether or not you can offer--or they participate in--formal school programs; and we hope you can help us reach them so that as many students as possible will benefit from this uplifting and potentially life-changing program.

        • Encourage your students to enter the competitions! Entries are due March 15th! You can post an announcement on your website, promote the contests during your athletic events, engage your PTO’s and other parent groups and student organizations, send an email and/or record a voicemail to parents, make morning announcements, distribute flyers (electronically, post on your website, print copies), and much more! Would you like a few hundred flyers? Posters? Postcards to mail home? Sample announcements? Let me know!
        • Host and record a talent show or schedule a simple recording session after school in a classroom before March 15th for any students that wish to perform in a live setting to record their entries. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS, but it would be so helpful to your students if you do! You can simply put a video camera (and maybe a microphone if possible?) on a tripod and record, then send them their video and they’ll upload it to the contests. Here’s a video showing how simple but effective this setup can be.  No video camera? Use a mobile device. Or let us know if you’d like a local college to send A/V students seeking meaningful service-learning opportunities!
        • Spread the word to all of your students’ parents and entire communities to vote The more who do, the bigger the celebration, and the more sponsorship funds for prizes!




        We're a brand new social impact organization that is partnering with local businesses and major brands to sponsor our contests with their large marketing budgets and help us:

        1. completely fill the gap in tax-based funding for arts and technology education programs by tapping into the $17 BILLION invested every year marketing to children and teens!
        2. shine a spotlight on teens with tremendous talent and potential--regardless of income or geography--so they may be discovered by college and other talent recruiters
        3. build an uplifting, community-galvanizing nationwide movement to celebrate and support all kinds of creative and technical teens, just as we do our amazing HS athletes; a movement that will be life changing for some, and unforgettable for all!

        After a hugely successful launch in CT, a few major brands will help us expand next fall to NY, CA, IL, TX and more! So CT's educators will actually be helping us launch something that has the potential to impact millions of young lives.


        If you have any additional questions, concerns or ideas, or just want to get to know me a little better before engaging your students, please feel free to call or email me! I look forward to working in partnership with you to make The CT State Championships unforgettable and even life-changing for many of your students and families.



        Linda Neaton, founder and CEO
        The Verge Awards for Teens on the Verge of Greatness!



        Need more convincing?

        It's not just about winning prize money!

        230 high school principals indicated they were even more excited to:

        • Provide an enriching and memorable HS experience for all students and ignite school pride as they rally students, parents and communities around their creative and technical students, just as they do their athletes!
        • Improve student self-esteem, increase mutual respect/reduce bullying and improve school climate/connectedness by celebrating the diversity of teen talent, passions, cultures, dreams
        • Provide a path to success for students with limited resources or emotional support as they win/earn life-changing scholarships, prizes that enable further learning, and opt-in to our Talent RegistryTM to be discoverable by pre-screened college recruiters and more.
        • Light a spark for disengaged students, improve school attendance and academic achievement with The Verge Awards® and resulting increased access to arts programming
        • Engage teachers in highly rewarding programming, enable collaboration on cross-discipline contests, school talent shows, etc.
        • Improve community awareness of and increase audience size at school events, resulting in more ticket revenue and self-funding of events
        • Increase voter awareness of the benefits of STEAM education programs and the need for local/federal funding
        • Access need-based funding for STEAM programs and related professional development for teachers
        • Establish relationships with partner businesses and youth organizations
        • Win awards and enhance their school’s public image



          Teachers added their excitement for increasing their ability to:

          • Spark creativity and lively, collaborative classroom discussions around contest themes
          • Engage, empower and inspire low performing students, help them discover and pursue their passions
          • Celebrate creative and technical students often overshadowed by athletic counterparts, improving their self-esteem and confidence
          • Create an innovative classroom learning experience that aligns to new national standards
          • Access financial support and donations of equipment, supplies and volunteers from partner businesses through The Verge Fund
          • Collaborate with teachers in other disciplines on multi-skill contests, e.g.: A product invention and entrepreneurship challenge requires collaborative idea generation and problem solving, makers, website development, graphic design, video production, marketing, etc. A music video requires songwriting, musicians, singers, sound engineers, film makers, media artists, actors, dancers, choreographers, set designers, etc.