Interview by Michelle Sicard Nomination & Photography by Carrie Eigbrett Photography NEW YORK
The Nomination: Carolyn is inspiring because unlike most teens, she spends 6 weeks of her summer working as a counselor at a camp for kids ages 8-15 and adults with developmental disabilities. During the school year, she spends an immense amount of time in the Theatre (public school and local shows) and in Chorus. Carolyn has been recognized for her talents and was even admitted onto the All State Chorus. In addition to all of this she maintains her academics and is on the National Honor Society and is heavily involved in her church.
I grew up at this camp, and it's one of the most positive environments I've ever been in. I always knew I wanted to work there as soon as I could. When I was 16, I did the counselor in training program, and got to meet and work with a lot of the campers, and coming back as a counselor at 17, it was spirit lifting when my campers remembered me, and were just as excited to spend another week or two with me, as I was with them.
I've played the heart breaker several times in 2018, and I've become attached to it. It's almost a game, to try and win the audience over, before becoming the bad guy and breaking not just my opposite character's heart, but the audience's well. I take it as the highest compliment when some after the show tells me they wanted to hate me, but they liked me too much.
To be selected for All State, first you must participate in NYSSMA Solo Festival, where you will be scored out of 100 on your singing and sight-reading abilities. You want to shoot for upper 90s to guarantee a spot. I am not a naturally gifted singer, so I have to work hard, dedicating extra time to rehearsing to secure an upper score.
Typically, the whole point of a choir or a theatrical ensemble is to blend in. The goal is to create a unified sound, or action. So, you learn to be a leader in other ways. I'm always on time to rehearsal, and I spend extra hours on the weekends building sets. I work one on one with chorus directors to improve my voice and the sound quality that I contribute to the group. You can't always stand out belting a solo center stage, but you can always find ways to be exemplary!
Interview by Michelle Sicard Nomination and Photography by Alexis Graciano of Graciano Photography Indiana
The Nomination: Tyler is a loving person. He enjoys singing in his free time and is in his school choir. He plays on his school basketball team as well as the AAU basketball team for our town. He was in private school most his life where they taught him Spanish and how to sign. At a young age he found his love for singing and theater at his private school but is very happy to now be in public school playing basketball and his school choir.
How did you become interested in singing in the first place? Is there a specific artist/band you are inspired by?
Well it all started with the old originals like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber but now it is more like Khalid, Halsey, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert, Nicki Minaj, and Juice World. To be honest it was just a feeling, that I just loved to do it, it made me happy and feel like I could be a part of something greater than myself.
How did you feel during your transition from private to public school? Was it that much different, and if so, how?
I loved it. My old school wasn’t really the right fit for me and some of the kids were not what I needed, plus all my friends went to the public school. It is different but coming from that to this is a transition I wouldn’t change for the world. I’m so much happier I get to be with my real friends. Shoutout to The 6 Amigos, Griffin, and Cassidy.
Tell me a little bit about your AAU Basketball Team. Was there any experience where you had to be a leader or show leadership skills in the team?
So my AAU team is really hyper and were like a family to be honest. We have support for each other and have each other’s backs. There was a few times when I had to step up especially on my School team but we all worked together and we got second in conference.
What are some of your favorite pieces you have sang in choir and does your school have choir concerts or other activities?
Well my favorite piece in choir was singing Believe from the polar express, and yes we have a Winter, Spring, and ISMA pre-concert. My favorite musical I have ever done was at my old school and we did High School Musical.
With all your amazing extra-curriculars, how do you keep yourself organized and keep your grades up? I have to stay organized or I get stressed. It’s weird and helpful at the same time, but I just try my best to get good grades just like I do.
What do you plan on doing after high school? Well for college I was either thinking about staying local like IU Bloomington or Purdue but, I really wanted to go somewhere where its nicer like AADA which is an acting in school in California, or somewhere in Texas or Florida. And if neither of my passions work out, I would try to be an Interior Designer or Architect.