JMPS Senior, Emmanuel, Talks About his Experience in Musicals


Emmanuel is currently one of the leads in the school musical where his hard work and stellar tap dance moves shine. Emmanuel has been a teacher’s assistant for several classes this year, and the teachers lucky enough to work with him rave about his dedication and helpfulness. 

Q. Can you tell us about your current lead role in the school’s musical?

A. This year our school musical was 42nd Street. My character’s name was Toby Mitchell Shaw. Toby was a RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) performer and was very stuck up and mean to everyone. Out of all the characters I’ve had to play this one was my favorite. Playing someone that is the opposite of you, I believe, is so much fun. I had two songs this year with Annika Huckeba who played the part of Annie. Our first song Young and Healthy was choreographed ourselves and it was fun to experience. This year, the musical had the most dances ever in a musical we’ve done, and I was a part of at least nine or ten of the dances with three of them being tap dances. I have never tap danced in my life before this school year, so at first learning was a struggle, but I practiced hard every day. I have done the musical for five years and I cherish all the memories I have made throughout the years. This year especially since it was my last. I’d like to give a shout out to the directors Mr. Batchelder and Mrs. Curtis who have put so much work into the musicals, Mr. B and his tech crew, and anyone else who has put hard work into the shows. 

Q. How difficult is it to balance all of your activities with school and work?

A. Sometimes it can be very challenging to balance work and school activities. Certain extra-curricular activities end at certain times that affect work hours so sometimes it feels impossible. For example, the musical ended every day at 6 p.m. which my shift also began at the same time because that is the latest shift one can work, but my managers are very nice and they are flexible when it comes to school. When I need to take time off for school events or for important things like finals, as long as I request it off in time I have those days off. I am grateful that they can work with my schedule when I want to play a sport or be in one of the plays. It can also be challenging when I need to get homework done or I have a test and I have to close the night before the test. Usually I try to be on top of my school work and I begin studying for tests as soon as we find out we will be having one. Having to balance work and school though has helped me be better at managing time, and it is helping me prepare for college when I have to balance different class hours and work. 

Q. What is involved in your work as a TA?

A. As a TA, my duties depend on the teacher that I TA for. This last term I TA’d for Mrs. Caves, the junior high math teacher, and Miss. Lambert, the junior high literature and composition teacher. I have to check in either every day or on certain days and I usually grade quizzes and/or tests. I always make sure I’m careful when I’m grading and usually ask questions when I am unsure about someone’s test. I enjoy grading very much which is funny because I do not see myself teaching in the future. I just like being helpful to teachers who have so much on their plates sometimes. Grading tests and quizzes has also given me so many flashbacks to junior high as well as grading quizzes for Miss Lambert and seeing the same books I had to read in junior high.This reminds me of all the fun I had during those times. For example, when we read the book The Long Winter with Miss Lambert we had a pancake party because in the book they eat pancakes or talk about pancakes in almost every chapter if I remember correctly.

Q. How has James Madison Prep prepared you for your future?

A. At JMPS many of our classes are very challenging and our teachers expect the best out of us and I feel that JMPS has prepared me for college and the challenges that come with college. JMPS has also prepared me for life with classes like self-reliance that we take senior year that teaches us how to cook or change a tire.

Q. Do you have plans after your upcoming graduation?

A. After graduation, I plan on working a lot during the summer to save up money and then in the fall I plan on going to Mesa Community College for two years and then transferring to ASU. Right now, I’m unsure what field I am wanting to go into, but I am interested in Business. I am excited for what the future holds for me and for what God’s plans are for my life.

Q. Who in your life has inspired you the most?

A. The people that have inspired me the most are my brother and my dad. My dad is a very hard worker and is always pushing me and my siblings to never give up and to always work hard so that we can be successful in the future. My brother graduated from GCU in 2014 and he is now a teacher at Isaac Middle School. What inspires me about him is that he worked very hard to get to where he is in life and I hope to be as successful as him one day. 

Emmanuel Borja is a senior at James Madison Prep.



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