Interviewed by Sophia Tenaglia, OC Teen and Development Committee Intern
I started at OC at the age of nine. At first I was involved in the Wednesday Special Projects Program and the Open Program. Later I joined Susan’s Tuesday Tutorial (which later became Emily’s) and Lucy’s Theatre Program.
My family was led to OC by our eye doctor at the time, Dr. Steve Gallop, whose daughter was involved at OC.
Since graduating from OC I attended Montgomery County Community College for two years part-time, and the last three and a half years as a full-time student at Ithaca College. This spring I will graduate from Ithaca with a BFA in musical theatre. Along with my time studying, I have spent multiple summers working with different theatre companies. I also spent a summer abroad, studying in London, U.K.
I firmly believe that OC helped me develop a strong sense of both curiosity and creativity. OC was a place for me to not only learn, but be able to create something new every day. Whether it was a physical creation, like a craft project, or an artistic creation, like a scene developed in a play, or simply the creation of a connection with a new friend, OC was a place where I felt free to create. This ability to create has been tremendously important to my college life, where my major requires me to relate with my peers and fellow actors every day in order to build the trust that is needed between people to create theatre together.
Without OC, I don’t believe that I would have been able to come into college with as much creative capability and openness as I did. My theatre-based courses have shown me this, and some of the general education requirements I have fulfilled have also shown me the great frustration that can come from a class that only requires you to retain and then spill out information back onto a page. The need to create is very important in my everyday work and relationships, and I would be lost without the skills and mindsets I was able to build at OC.
In terms of what I would have changed about OC, the main thing that comes to mind is in regards to friendships. I would warn young people currently at OC against taking their peers for granted. The friendships you make at OC have the potential to last for years after graduation, and you’d be amazed how much you appreciate and miss many of those friendships later on. Try to appreciate your group of fellow young people as a whole, and stay away from exclusion. It’s often hard to realize that some people in a social group may be feeling excluded, and I still remind myself to be aware of this in my current social life. Avoid building cliques as best you can, because you never know how that sort of thing may effect the future of your relationships. Some of my best friends in the entire world are people I met during my time at OC, and I know that they will be my friends for the rest of my life. So just make sure you value each person for who they are and for everything they bring to the OC community.