Four Years Flourishing

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Four Years Flourishing

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The class of 2016 is almost gone from the halls of LZHS, along with their memories, funny stories, and favorite moments. Four seniors were chosen to reflect on their high school career.

Addie Howell, Drama Enthusiast 

“My sister was my biggest influence. She played sports throughout high school and then her senior year she tried out for the spring musical and got the lead, which is amazing,” Addie Howell, senior in the drama department, said. “She was so great and I felt so cool saying, ‘hey, that’s my sister. My sister has the lead in the musical.’ Like that’s such a cool thing to say. She was probably my biggest influence.”

Howell, who has been performing since Kindergarten, says she tried theater not only to follow in her sibling’s’ footsteps, but also because sports were not for her.

“I literally tried every single sport there was and I was just not good. So when I started theater, I realized that that was my calling. It was something that I was good at,” Howell said.

Howell has been participating in the drama department in District 95 since middle school and has gotten very close with everyone working in the department. She says the people in the department are some of her “best friends.” Although her  favorite part of performing is showing everything they have worked so hard for.

“Last year, the spring musical was Anything Goes. The closing night we did “Anything Goes,” the number. It was a huge dance that we worked on for so long, and on the last night we got a standing ovation after that dance. It was the coolest feeling ever,” Howell said. “We worked so hard to get there, and we finally got that glory. Even though the entire process was tiring and frustrating at some points, when we got that standing ovation it was like that relief that all of our hard work paid off.”

Even though Anything Goes is Howell’s favorite show, a show that really “transferred into her real life” was a show meant for a younger audience.

“I think the children’s theater show this year, Honk, taught me a lot.I got to play the character Penny who meets the Ugly Duckling and falls in love with him immediately despite appearance, she recognizes his pure heart and his inner beauty,” Howell said. “She is one of the only characters in the show who doesn’t shame him, so it was amazing taking on that persona and it really taught me, as cliche as it is, that what’s on the inside is what truly counts.

Although Howell is not pursuing theater in college, she hopes to continue acting on the side, and encourages everyone to get involved in the department.

“I really encourage people to get out there and try theater. Everyone in the club is so accepting and welcoming. It’s a good place to get started if you’re considering pursuing anything within that department.”

Ray Paul, Film Enthusiast 

“When I first saw 12 Angry Men in middle school, it challenged me to look at situations more complexly, because sometimes there really is no clear-cut right answer,” Ray Paul, senior media and film student, said. “It talks a lot about justice and whether or not it’s ok to assume that somebody’s innocent. The trade off between assuming someone’s innocent and letting them go if they really did do it, or convicting them and sentencing them to the chair if they didn’t. Each and every member of the jury is flawed in their own ways, and even the audience can only guess about the defendant’s story.”

Paul’s love for movies started during their (Paul’s chosen pronoun) childhood, and despite how young they were when they first watched 12 Angry Men, Paul remembers their exact thoughts and feelings about it.

“I first saw the [12 Angry Men] at a time in my life where I wanted every issue to be black and white, no pun intended,” Paul said. “The movie represents the exact antithesis of that style of thinking.”

Although Paul enjoys classic movies, they also enjoy some new releases.

Inception actually blew me away when I first saw it, because it was such an intricately-woven and layered story. It really captured my imagination, and it definitely gave me new found motivation in my writing,” Paul said. “I wanted to be able to create stories that could be as complex and original as Inception was to me, and I think that film helped me hold myself and my writing to a higher standard.”

Despite taking movie classes during their time in high school, Paul is not majoring in film.

“The main reason I’m pursuing writing instead of film is because it affords me more diverse opportunities going out of college. If I went into film, I would primarily be interested in the writing, so instead I’m pursuing a broader course of study that I can apply to whatever field I decide to enter,” Paul said. “Right now, I’d be more interested in writing stories in book form, but I really want to leave my options open.”

Robert Witkowski, Reading Enthusiast 

“I think it rings true that we have new experiences and our lives are enriched by reading,” Robert Witkowksi, AP Literature and Compositions student, said.

Although all students are required to take English Classes during their high school career, not all students find reading to be a task. “Back in elementary school, I really liked to read. I tried to read some challenging books. One of my favorite books that I ever read, called the Phantom Tollbooth, I read in elementary school. It was a really good book. I think I can accredit a lot of my vocabulary to my early reading,” Witkowski said.

While Witkowski’s interest in reading began in elementary school, it has not diminished. He continues to read for enjoyment.

“I really like Shakespeare. Macbeth is fantastic. I think that in works of Shakespeare, we connect with on a greater level because he was really good at applying human nature in his stories,” Witkowski said. “We see a lot of ourselves in his characters and I think that makes the connection so much stronger. The complex meanings are always applicable to our lives.”

Although some students may choose to not read the books, sometimes even the most devoted English students do not enjoy the books that they have to read. However, some of the books may be more useful and relatable for students than others.

“Siddharta was a very philosophical book that I think had a good set of themes just about self discovery and identity,” Witkowski said. “It was the first book we read this year in AP English and it was a good start.”

Mara Nasui, Music Enthusiast 

“When I was younger, even watching high school musical movies, got me really excited for [getting involved in theater]. Always wanting to be like Gabriella and Troy or wanting to be in musicals got me really into singing,” Mara Nasui, senior and President of Concert Choir, said.

Nasui joined Concert Choir to enhance her singing skills and developed a greater appreciation for singing before becoming a performer.

“I’ve never really been good at sports, so I kind of got into singing because everyone can do choir. There’s kind of this myth that you have to be good at singing to do choir but the reason people do choir is to get better at it,” Nasui said. “No one goes into it as an expert, it’s a normal class that you have to learn.”

According to Nasui, choir is commonly mistaken as a group for students who are good singers.

“You really feel like your work has paid off at the performances. We usually have really large crowds just because of the large amount of people in choir, so we have a large number of people to come support. Performing your favorite song at a concert, or something of that nature, is when you really enjoy it most. You feel really proud of  yourself and proud of your team,” Nasui said. “[It’s] the feeling of ‘our work has paid off,’ especially if everything went well. Seeing the audience’s reaction after performances and if the have positive attitudes about it is good feedback. It’s also easier to feel like the goals was accomplished in putting on a good show.”

Although there are many performances, each performance stands out for something different. The time between performances allows for improvement and growing as a performer, according to Nasui.

“Certain performances have taught me different things about myself,” Nasui said. “For example, our last concert choir performance last year was the most emotional performance I’ve ever been a part of. It showed me how truly passionate I was about choir and how hard it will be to leave it behind when I graduate, but also taught me how every moment counts and is worth cherishing since one day I won’t have it anymore.”

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