Art and music have been part of my life for a long time. Seeing how SA handles performing arts and music really interested me when I was looking at the school, but I wasn't expecting a lot of opportunites, especially as a freshman. In a lot of places the people who are most qualified get the most opportunities and they leave other people behind. Here it is more about who is most interested, most passionate.
I joined up with the spring concert in freshman year, and I've been doing the spring concerts ever since. I ended up learning a bunch of different ways of playing rhythm. I had never played a hand drum, had never played Balkan music. I would never have gotten to play those rhythms anywhere else. That was amazing for me. It was amazingly cool to learn how to play a triangle.
I feel like I’ve really expanded my abilities as a musician, especially rhythm-wise—my cultural awareness about other forms of rhythm. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to play, even though I wasn’t the most experienced.
In my freshman year, I decided that I would never, ever act. I'm more of an introvert. I play drums, always in the back. When I have to stand up in front of people, I get really anxious. But the performances sort of pull you in, and many of the performances involve music and acting, and aren't strictly one or the other.
One year, Jen Coté suggested that she had a part for me. That’s not really something I ever imagined myself doing. I wouldn’t consider myself naturally good at presenting myself. She was super excited about it though, and I was intrigued. I figured, acting's not really my thing but I might as well try it. I just asked that I be able to participate in the music as well. I acted in the fall play this year too.
I also do art requests around the school. I've submitted a bunch of comics for the school newspaper—they keep me on retainer for drawings. And I joined Speech & Debate to help me improve my communcation skills. There are things we learn in school—like reading and writing—that are important, but in some ways don't apply to life every day. Communicating with others, though, that's really important. You need to be able to talk to people. So, I've been able to practice that.
This year, I'm helping co-direct Evening of the Arts, and I've participated in all of them since freshman year. I'm also the Assistant Director for SASS (Sonoma Academy Student Show). Life is all about collaboration. It’s about working together, I would say. It’s easy to lose sight of that. There's pressure to be unique or individual, to do everything yourself, but that's not realistic. Working in the shows has taught me that.
I really have enjoyed all of my classes here. They all force you to think. My favorites have been humanities classes—this year I'm taking AP Literature. Last year I took Brandon's Historiography class--that class was mind-blowing. I’ve really enjoyed my economics class, as well as physics and chemistry. I've taken honors chemistry and this year AP--it's crazy to think that what I'm learning about in class is happening all the time, invisble to the eye.
I'm thinking about pursuing neuroscience in college--I'm really interested in how the mind and body connect. I'm also interested in prosthetics—I don't know why. I'm applying to a lot of colleges on the east coast. I like it when people give me the tools to succeed and let me work it out, so that's what I'm looking for.
SA has made me a much more confident person. Here, your opinion is valuable and you should speak up for yourself. You should think and ask questions and not take things for granted. I’ve learned to present myself more effectively, to be more confident in how I express myself.
I've learned to be willing to say I don’t know.