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DES MOINES, Iowa – As part of the 2019-20 Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA), Des Moines Performing Arts announces the recipients of the 2020 Impact Award that recognizes the contributions made by educators and community members who support their local high schools’ musical productions. High school students were invited to nominate adults who they feel go above and beyond to support the school musical experience. Applicants wrote an essay about the nominated individual and also collected testimonials from fellow students, parents, and school administrators to determine this year’s honored recipients. EMC Insurance Companies is the Presenting Sponsor of the IHSMTA Program.

“The dedication of directors and other adults who lend their time and expertise to the high school musical makes a lasting impact on students, not only helping them to put on a strong production but helping them to develop important life skills,” said Sarah Florian, Des Moines Performing Arts Education Program Coordinator. “We felt it was important to provide a pathway to acknowledge this impact.”

Two recipients have been recognized for 2020: Lynn Jacobsen, Director, Danville Junior/Senior High School and Brett Purvis, Set Design and Construction, BCLUW High School. More details regarding the recipients and the students who nominated them can be found below.


Lynn Jacobsen

Director, Danville Junior/Senior High School (Danville, Iowa)

Nominated by Kennedy Schuff, 12th Grade

Throughout his incredible 45-year career, Lynn “Mr. Jake” Jacobsen has selflessly supported and cared for all students, never hesitated to help with what needed to be done for a production, and brought out the best in each of his students. “I have witnessed him working miracles through his steadfast patience, endless encouragement, tireless dedication, purposeful coaching, high expectations and unwavering belief in all students,” Danville Community Member Theresa Kirkman said. Nominating student Kennedy Schuff notes “He wants nothing but the best for his students and he is always there to lend a helping hand.”

Brett Purvis

Set Design & Construction, BCLUW High School (Conrad, Iowa)

Nominated by Treye Teske, 12th Grade

“It’s easy to say that Brett Purvis deserves this award because of the sets he builds for the drama department, but Brett truly deserves the award because of everything else that he “builds” through set construction,” says Brian Feldpasusch, BCLUW School Board Member. Brett not only has a vast knowledge of set construction and an eye for creative design on a budget, but also the leadership to make every part of the process a teaching moment for students focusing on valuable lessons in community service, civic responsibility, and an appreciation for the arts. Nominating student Treye Teske notes “The selflessness that he shows to our drama department is something I have never seen before.”

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is a yearlong education program launched by Des Moines Performing Arts. Throughout the year, performing arts professionals and educators serve as adjudicators to review musical productions and offer constructive feedback to each of the participating high schools. The program has continued to grow by leaps and bounds since its inaugural year in 2012. A statewide initiative, the 2019-2020 school year has welcomed 86 participating schools with more than 5,000 students into the program.

For additional information regarding the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, please visit

About Des Moines Performing Arts

Des Moines Performing Arts is a private not-for-profit organization celebrating 41 seasons of presenting the performing arts to Iowa and the surrounding states on four stages in Des Moines – the Civic Center, the Stoner Theater, the Temple Theater and the newly renovated outdoor space, Cowles Commons. Des Moines Performing Arts is a presenter of major Broadway and educational touring companies, performers and groups, and is home to many local and regional groups, including the Des Moines Symphony. All performances of the Broadway Series are supported by Willis Auto Campus. All performances at the Temple Theater are supported by Prairie Meadows. All performances of the Family Series are supported by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. For more information, visit