The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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With the new addition of the Cypress Center and the brand new theatre, there has been a lot of speculation of the theatre programs, including the addition of IB theatre - what does this all mean? I am able to participate in most theatre functions and have a large understanding of how the performing arts programs run daily, as well as all the opportunities available for students.
It's called "Thespians" for short, however it is the International Thespian Society. This is a club that revolves around theatre in general, as well as going to theatre competitions. Students practice scenes, monologues, songs, and technical events like costume design and playwriting, and participate in a festival for a few days in our district whilst being judged, and if they get a high enough score, can take a trip to the Florida state festival and take workshops and classes from the very best as well as performing. However, thespians has multiple other events for those who do not get into districts- this includes Improv. Night, The Haunted House, Shakespeare Night, and many new events such as Miscast and W factor (in which boys perform female numbers and vise versa), and school events like the homecoming parade. However, this club forms a community and even if you do not participate on stage or backstage but enjoy the art form, then it is to learn about and celebrate everything theatre has to offer.
WHAT THESPIANS REQUIRE
The Officers are very involved in running thespians - our sponsor helps us, however organization of events is all us. We make plans for all the meetings, send emails, and decide what to do throughout the year. We have to be leaders of the troupe and help critique district pieces, have separate meetings, go to club events, find ways to raise money, etc. It is very busy, almost like a job as well have to do something everyday, but very rewarding.
With the opening of the cypress center came a plethora of new school shows for students to participate in - both offstage and onstage. These include the current "Peter Pan" All School, the high school play "Steel Magnolias", the HS/MS musical of "Addams Family", as well as the Lower Schoolers "Cinderella" and the MS Broadway review. There will also be a summer camp show of "Les Miserables" in which anyone in the community can participate in. This means that it is a fulfilling year for both technical and theatrical students, but it is also a lot of work.
The performance sets are very difficult to maintain, therefore many students take classes in and outside of school in order to keep and improve their skills. A lot of theatre students take dance classes in order to keep with the demand of movement in shows, as well as musical theatre which can contain high intensity dancing in multiple styles. They also take choir or chorus, to learn the proper technique of singing, the different variations, and how to be united in a group. Both of these classes also give the benefit of making the student a triple threat, something desired in the community because of the versatility of the student that allows them to perform roles with multiple requirements (for example a character that can sing opera, or Tap dances). Some students even take music classes to learn or understand musical instruments and how to read music- there are many shows that now require actors to play instruments and the business is very competitive. These music students also have an opportunity to play in the orchestra of a show.
However, the most important part is acting or theatrical classes. It is the backbone of musical theatre - performance is about expressing yourself, which is what this class does. There is so much variation in acting and an actor can always improve in each style and in each style and needs constant direction in order to be as close to perfect as possible. This helps abstract theatre, speech, script work, directing and critiquing others, and being able to learn about techniques.
Technical theatre is also expanding at our school, through the use of the art classes. WPS is beginning to make its own sets, and creative minds are needed for this. Students that take art classes are creative, problem solvers, able to view the full picture and see what compliments, and bring new ideas to the table.
It is important to take these fine and performing art classes because it keeps the students in a creative mindset, allows them to expand and grow, and can bring it to their multiple projects.
Many students find their volunteer hours through the performing arts. Many of the lower school and middle school shows invite HS and MS students to tech backstage or stage manager, as well as help the children, and the high school shows have a tech team that consists of high school students- for example, many high school students are "fly crew" in Peter Pan, which is a very big job. Not only does it create leadership and organizational skills, but it gives students many CAS and volunteer hours. Thespians tech at both W factor and Mr. Windermere Prep, and students usually help the performing arts teachers in tasks.
Ever wondered how you can get involved with Windermere Prep's wonderful fine arts programs and all it has to offer, without needing any musical talents or abilities? Trust me, I know what it's like to have no artistic, musical, or athletic talent and be lost on what I could possibly do after my school days to boost my resumé and gain valuable experience.
That's when I looked towards Windermere Prep's Cypress Center, the new and beautiful building in the center of our campus, dedicated solely to the fine and performing arts. This is where you go to watch our high quality performances and take fine art classes, but it is also so much more than that. This is where I met wonderful people, gained trust from my superiors, learned incredible skills and knowledge, and most importantly, had some of the best memories of my Freshman year.
I chose to work in the costumes' department for our 2019 school-wide performance of "The Little Mermaid" and the 2020 high school performance for "Alice in Wonderland," as well as our elementary school production of "Once Upon a Mattress." More specifically, I was the assistant to the costume director during the months of rehearsals and preparations, and during the actual shows I was in charge of all things regarding costuming and helping out at the dressing rooms and keeping children supervised and ready while they were backstage. In total, I logged 140 hours towards my community service credit by helping out in these productions, and it was worth every minute. You don't have to work only with costumes, of course, you can help out in props, sets, lighting, sound, or you can be a Cypress Center Ambassador.
Although these can sometimes be too much of a commitment for some, there are so many small things you could do to help out with and support the fine arts at our school! For example, before every production there are always sets and props that need to be made and painted, and you are always welcome to volunteer for these designated "set building" days and get community service hours for painting while having fun with friends and meeting new people. Another way to support the Cypress Center and all its performers is to come and watch the various concerts and plays we have throughout the year, which are all of exceptional quality and talent, and will definitely be worth your time.
The takeaway is that if you are looking for an after-school commitment or just for a way to collect your required community service hours, reach out to a superior at the Cypress Center in charge of your area of interest and request to speak with them, and I am sure they will accommodate you with what works best for you. I formed great friendships and trust with all the casts, directors, and fellow helpers, and I couldn't be more grateful for it all. I welcome all to experience the incredible fun that is being behind-the-scenes, it is truly magical.
Windermere Prep offers a wide variety of choices in their Fine Arts department - you can focus on traditional art, dance, drama, or band and orchestra music. I know that sounds daunting, especially if you're first entering high school. It can be hard to choose, especially if you think that you're not particularly good at any of these. But I'm here to tell you that innate talent should not guide you in your decisions, at least in the art program.
High school is the time when people really start to learn more about themselves. They learn what they want, what they're good at, and how to become more independent. They also learn to challenge themselves, and to try and learn new things that they've never done before.
Many of the students you see that blow you away with their sheer talent in art? It didn't come to them just like that. They dedicated time to practice and work on their skills because they genuinely wanted to learn. That's why the teachers are there: to help you learn and practice. They don't look at a student and think, "oh, they're good at dancing, I'm only taking them in my class." They look at a student and consider their potential.
There's no real way I can help you choose what you want to do in the Fine Arts program; that's all up to you. Think about what you want. Consider these questions:
Answering these questions will make it easier to make the decision, and hopefully it will leave you satisfied with whatever choice you make.
Good luck, everyone!