News

Seniors to Pursue Arts after Whitefield
Categories: General, Upper School, Fine Arts
Posted: 5/16/2017

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Seven members of the Class of 2017 will continue to pursue their passion for the arts after they graduate Whitefield this month. While some students see the arts as an extracurricular activity, this group of seniors sees it as a way of life.

• Jessica Burnett – University of Tampa, majoring in musical theatre
"I loved that the [University of Tampa] musical theatre students were warm and welcoming to prospective students and that they were really a family within the larger student community. UTampa also encourages their performing arts students to minor in something that pairs well with performing arts, like arts management, marketing, communications, or education, because they want their musical theatre students to be able to do more than just be good singers, dancers, and actors. My biggest dream is to be able to continue performing for as long as I can. I also hope that I might be able to teach or coach high school students who also love theatre.

All the Whitefield drama students are so amazing and passionate, and being around them made me more driven to continue to perform in college. Without them, I doubt that I would be continuing in musical theatre at all."

• Brittany Crisp – American Academy of Dramatic Arts
"AADA is a conservatory strictly for actors who intend on pursuing [an acting career] professionally. They will train me in the art of acting for stage and screen, and, afterwards, the college will give me the connections I need in order to continue my career as a professional actress in Los Angeles. I've been acting since I was nine years old, and it's been my creative passion ever since. Thankfully for me, God let me know what He wanted me to do with my life at a young age. I'm so grateful for teachers like Ms. Marsh and Ms. Bonnem, who not only support my dreams, but encourage me when I have self-doubt in my skills and abilities. If it wasn't for their love, God, and the family environment that I experienced with my drama family, I know I wouldn't have had the confidence to pursue my dreams for real."

• Ansley Guthrie – Parsons School of Design, focusing on visual arts
“I am attending an art school because I believe those that are best at their job love their job, and I love art. I want to be the best artist I can be because I value communicating well with the world around me. Creating communicable work is a passion of mine. Good stories are so powerful, and art is my gift in communication. I will find a career that utilizes as many of my artistic passions as possible.”

• Samara Huggins – Pratt Institute, majoring in fashion design and minoring in literary arts
“I elected the fashion design major primarily because that is where my heart is, but also because I have a gifted eye for garments and how they complement the human form. Along with fashion design, writing is my safe haven. I exist to share stories, to express emotions, and to offer advice. I exist to write what I feel, to write what you feel, and to write what the world feels, but cannot say. At Pratt, the literary arts minor matches these interests seamlessly. I will be able to enhance my poetic voice, as well as venture into different genres of creative writing as a student within this department. During my years at Pratt and beyond,  I will combine my creativity, my literary voice, and my passion for foreign cultures by venturing abroad to third-world countries and volunteering as a teacher of either the arts or of the English language or of both, where I would educate children.”

• Kaitlyn Johnson – Berklee College of Music
“I chose Berklee because I have always had a love for music and because of my many years of musical education. Personally, I've always been driven to excel in my musical talents. At Whitefield, I was influenced mostly by Mrs. Quiros, the band director for marching and jazz bands, in both of which I played the piano and had various opportunities to sing. She encouraged me to be the musician I am today, and I am forever grateful!”

• Olivia Nandkeolyar – Wake Forest University, majoring in international relations and minoring in dance. She will also be participating in the university’s performance dance group.
Olivia has studied dance for 10 years and is highly accomplished in ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, tap and character dance. Currently, Olivia practices about 20 hours a week of classical and contemporary ballet as part of a pre-professional program at the International City School of Ballet.  She has competed several times at Youth America Grand Prix, the largest ballet competition for young dancers in the world. The ensemble of which she was a part won first place at the regional competition in Atlanta in January 2017 and competed in the finals in New York City in April against 87 other ensembles representing 23 states and 10 countries.

• Dani Streever – Cornell University, majoring in engineering. Will be taking a gap year after graduating Whitefield to perform with Ballet Chicago during their 2017-2018 season.
Dani has been in a pre-professional ballet program since the age of 11 and has performed in lead and secondary roles in dozens of ballets, such as Carmen, The Nutcracker, Pirates of the Phantom Waves, Paquita, Don Quixote, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Dani has danced every summer since the age of 12 at top ballet companies in the U.S., such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet West, and Sarasota Cuban Ballet and has been offered summer and year-round ballet scholarships, including a scholarship to dance in Italy and Barcelona, Spain. She has performed and won first place in an ensemble piece in the Youth American Grand Prix. She is greatly looking forward to a year dedicated to ballet.

Congratulations to these seniors for pursuing their dreams…and their creativity…in college and beyond!