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That one Summer - Personal Essay

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For as long as I can recollect, I have always wanted to educate students. It wasnt until later on, college I think, that I chose the area of Performing Arts. I always found the arts to be a special way to express oneself. My parents always told me to follow my heart and love what I do. They taught me well because I do love what I do. There is never one day that past that I do not enjoy getting up and going to work. Being the artistic director at n elite performing arts school is definitely the road I wanted to take in life. Of course, it has its rough days but they are always better when I feel like I have accomplished something or helped someone else accomplish something. I guess i just have that job that always has its advantages. There was this one summer that I recall being the most beneficial and life changing experience I have ever had.

It all started the summer of 2008. Every summer we hold an intensive where students from around the world come to take class and work on a final performance where they are judged and hopefully accepted into the school as a student. With the help of select faculty members, these two months we get to watch all the students and how they improve throughout the intensive. We teach them about all the areas of the arts and give them as many pointers and critiques as we can to get them ready for the evaluations at the end of the year. This particular summer was different though. There were a group of five students that took my particular interest right from the start. Each of their stories touched me more than any other students have before.

I met the first of the five, Andy, during orientation. Being the type of person I am, I like to meet and talk with the students involved with the intensive and ask what their plan of action and why he is here. He told me that he never had the opportunity to train or work with elite teachers or choreographers. He continues on talking about his passion for dance. he said. I could relate to him in some way because I use to live in a area that didnt accept or understand anything that was out of the norm. Next I saw Mandy, one of our theatre students. She is a different case than Andy was. She came from a wealthy family who gave her everything. The only problem with that is she rarely sees them and feels, in her own, way abandoned. She also told me she has been to so many theatrical schools in the past but has never felt like she has learned what she needs to have learned to be successful in the theatre field. The third person I met was Dylan, another dance student. He is a more philosophical person. He told me a lot about his family. He is an only child and his parents were killed in a car accident when he was five years old. He lives with his grandmother and took dance classes every chance he had. Most people had the right sources to continue on with their education and he only has an opportunity with the help of this intensive. The fourth person that I talked to was Reilly. She came from a small town in Minnesota where the chances for her to get proper singing lessons is little to none. She told me she loved to sing and even act sometimes. When she started high school she decided that musical theatre was a way for her to do both. The other person I met was Sandra. Some people come through here with many years of training but surprisingly, Sandra had only one year of proper training. Singing is her passion but because of personal reasons and economic problems, she never pursued it. With the help of her family and friends, she was able to come to this intensive.

As I continued meeting the students involved this summer, I couldnt help but think about those five kids. I couldnt believe how different each of them are but yet they are so similar and many other ways. As the summer continued on we taught them the aspects of dance, musical theatre,



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