Amanda is a top academic, and has been a vital part of PCDS’ theatrical programs during her time at school. In March, she’ll play the lead of Ariel in their production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Additionally, she’s an accomplished author and member of the PCDS Varsity Cheer Team.
Q. Tell us more about the program “Freshman Year Initiative” that you are involved in?
A. This year, I was selected to participate in my school’s Freshman Year Initiative, a program that designates twelve members of the senior class to serve as mentors to incoming freshmen throughout their first year of high school. As a leader in this group, we plan the three-day ninth grade retreat and coordinate field trips and events during the year. We are available at all times to answer questions about the rigors of high school and to reach out to underclassmen, especially those who are having a difficult time adjusting to their new academic and social environments. The best part of being on Freshman Year Initiative is watching the freshmen become more confident in themselves and in their abilities throughout the year. I have loved getting to know the ninth grade class. They have such a unique vibrant energy and I can’t wait to see what they do over the next few years.
Q. You are playing Ariel in the spring musical, The Little Mermaid tell us more about that?
A. We’re getting closer to the later stages of rehearsal for the musical, which will show over the first weekend of March. We receive great instruction from our director, choreographer, and vocal instructor. The Little Mermaid is a huge musical with lots of costumes, musical numbers, and high energy, so everyone has been working hard for this performance, and it is really paying off. I am thrilled to be playing Ariel, especially alongside my amazingly talented castmates.
Q. What other performances have you been in with PCDS?
A. PCDS has a fall play and a spring musical every year, and I have been in every one since I was a freshman. I have so much respect and admiration for my peers in theater who have helped me grow as a performer, a student, and a team player. I cannot imagine what my high school experience would have been like without the theater department. In such an academically challenging environment like PCDS, having an activity that brings me so much joy makes a huge difference in how I view my daily life as a student. I remember even on my most stressful days of junior year, I was able to look forward to rehearsal at the end of the day. There is a certain element of mindfulness that comes with leaving behind external problems for a few hours to get into character, and it has been extremely healthy for me in my development as a student and as a performer.
Q. You are also an amazing writer who knows how to inspire others through your work, tell us more about that?
A. Thank you for saying that! I am a “Quiet Diarist” for Quiet Revolution, a network led by Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. A few people had recommended her book to me last year, and it really resonated with me. I coincidentally read it right before my English teacher assigned an autobiography essay, so I wrote about my own experience as an introvert. My first published piece (http://www.quietrev.com/quiet_diaries/a-thinker-in-a-world-of-talkers/) is a condensed version of what I produced for this assignment. The original essay was eight pages, but the amazing editors at Quiet Revolution helped me identify the most effective parts of my original work and piece them together smoothly. I’m so grateful for my English teacher last year who challenged me to produce this article and for Quiet Revolution, which has given me an outlet to reach other people.
Amanda is a senior at Phoenix Country Day School.