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Theatre seniors leave massive shoes to fill

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The Hayfield Dramahawks have had a wonderful 2017-2018 season. Starting with “Footloose” in the summer and ending with “The Wedding Singer” this spring, they produced five mainstage productions, received a collective four Cappie nominations and hosted a wide variety of student-driven events. With such a busy season came the flow of many upperclassmen into leadership roles, both elected and unelected.

“What separated this year from the rest was the idea that it’s senior year and we, as the oldest in the department, are looked up to by the underclassmen. Although some pressure came along with it, it was such a great experience,” senior Hallie Strelsky said. “I can carry [this] experience with me all throughout my life.”

Seniors taking over leadership roles is obviously not uncommon, but this year, there are proportionally more graduating seniors deeply involved in the department than have been seen in past years. With over a dozen graduating thespians, it is no question that these students have had a massive impact, leaving spaces that will be difficult to fill.

Bill Stockton
Seniors pose for a photo on May 5, 2018, before the closing performance of “The Wedding Singer.”

 

“Every graduating year that goes through the drama department [enacts] changes it in one way or another. I think [2018] especially has put in more effort and care that I’ve ever seen before,” senior Christian Pineda said. “Some people kind of give up when it’s later in the year, but 2018 has pulled strong and has definitely been one of the strongest bonds I’ve had in quite a while.”

For some, such passion for the arts demonstrated in their years at Hayfield will continue far into future careers, with several students pursing theatre or music on the collegiate level.

“The few hours I spend doing theatre at Hayfield every day are the best hours of my day, so it is incredibly exciting to have a chance to work on something I am so passionate [about] full time in college,” senior Jackson Miller, who will be majoring in Musical Theatre at Millikin University, said. “Hayfield theatre has shown me the amazing effect theatre can have on a community and that has definitely been a major factor in me deciding to pursue it as a profession.”

With all of the 2017-18 Thespian Honor Society officers being seniors, there is no question that with an exciting season already planned for the coming year, the department has great room for positive development and change, building upon what the class of 2018 has established. Thespian elections were held on May 16, 2018, and the new group of officers is looking forward to increasing the presence of the department in the community.

“I want to create a sense of unity as an honor society, and I would like to make the title of “honor society” more applicable and appropriate. Right now we are more of a drama club, but we can expand that to being an active honor society that is recognized and respected in the school community,” junior elected Vice President Kathryn Shepherd said. “The seniors have left a strong foundation and it seems that the devil has been in the details. We have a lot of wonderful ideas about everything from publicity to how we can give back to the community, and I think that we can take a lot of what the seniors have given us and make it a reality.”

However, with such excitement for the future comes the inevitable sadness of graduation.

“After teaching these kids for three years, I have come to rely on them for certain leadership roles and responsibilities, and they certainly leave big shoes to fill for the rising classes,” theatre teacher Patrick Mitchell said. “I suppose I might miss them a little.”

2018 has truly left a massive impact on the theatre department, and the Dramahawks only going to continue to grow and thrive in the coming years.

“I’m sure people have already reiterated the cliche of theatre being where you find your voice, but the best way I would sum up the effect of Hayfield theatre on at least me personally is that it’s the place where no one has to be the ‘quiet kid’,” senior Cara Bradley said. “It’s going to be incredible to see how the program grows.”

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Theatre seniors leave massive shoes to fill