The Falcon Experience Blog
The Falcon Experience
Theatre at JPII
When I first came to JPII as a freshman, one of my main worries at the start of high school was making friends and fitting in at the school. I worried I would never find a group I belonged with, a group in which everyone was accepting of each other. However, I found just that when I became involved in theatre at JPII. I have genuinely never met a group of kinder, more loving people in my life, and I know they have helped make me a better actress and more confident individual.
Within the JPII drama program, everyone is valued for their own unique talents and ideas, which all contribute to the creation of an amazing show. No one is ever treated like they are unimportant to the performance, whether they are the star of the show or helping behind the scenes. This attitude allows the cast and crew to grow and develop their knowledge of theatre in an environment where everyone is supportive of one another. Everyone gets a chance to explore what it means to create a show from beginning to end, and they are able to enjoy stepping into a character’s shoes and becoming someone else. Everyone genuinely wants the department as a whole to be something the entire school can enjoy and be proud of, and that means working together to create the best show possible.
Although I grew to realize that the drama department was full of supportive people, I was initially very nervous and afraid to participate in theatre. Going into my first day of Drama 1, I was doubtful of myself and my own talents, and I feared that I wasn’t good enough to really benefit the program. Over time, I found myself opening up as a result of the overwhelming support I had from the other people in my drama class and the help of my drama teacher, Mrs. Adams. I felt like I didn’t have to be afraid of failing anymore because there was a group of amazing people surrounding me, even when I didn’t think I had the courage to perform in front of a crowded audience.
Now, as I approach my senior year, I know that I will look back on this drama department as not just my friends, but as a family. If you ask any member of JPII theatre, I am sure they would tell you the exact same thing. From travelling together to competitions throughout the year, to performing shows together, to auditioning and putting together all our performances, we do everything with respect and love for each other. When I look back on my high school experience, I will be most thankful for my time in the theatre department and for the unforgettable people I had the pleasure of performing with. They will always be a family to me, and I hope the drama department will continue to grow together for many years to come.
I often say that moving to Huntsville, enrolling in JPII, and getting involved in the school’s athletics were three of the best things that ever happened to me. Many serious athletes believe that going to a small, private school hinders their ability to advance to the state finals both individually, due to the lack of high level coaching, and as a team, due to the lack of teammates who share a similar skill level, which would ultimately keep them from getting looked at by college scouts. My experience in my three years at JPII proves that notion incorrect.
I was a member of the football team for two years, the tennis team for three years, and the track team for two years. I decided to join the football team because I was a good athlete and the school needed me. I improved quickly and started several games my first season ever playing, and this past year, my senior year; I was named a team captain. Although I never saw a JPII football win in my two years playing, I can honestly say that I would not be the man I am today if I had decided to take the easy way out and criticize the team while not actually trying to contribute to the change. One of the main reasons that I had an interest in attending the United States Military Academy West Point, where I will be attending starting July 3, is because of the type of camaraderie and brotherhood that I experienced while playing football.
It is easy to jump on with a winning team, but it takes something special to tough out a 0-10 season while playing every down. I may not have been rewarded with a “W” in the scorebook, but I was rewarded knowing that I was setting an example for the underclassmen and that I was laying the foundation for a football team that could one day be winning state championships. I believe that a team who wins every game cannot experience the type of camaraderie and brotherhood I experienced, and I would not trade my time on the JPII football team for anything.
I have always been a tennis player. I played tennis all four years in high school, and was a captain for two of my three years at JPII. My junior year, my doubles partner and I got extremely close to making it to the state championships, losing the section final by only a few games This past year was different. My doubles partner and I played some our best tennis and beat our main rival Randolph School to qualify for State!. While at State, my partner and I won four matches to make it to the final four! We were able to compete with the bigger public schools in the state because we had a great coach, and the support the entire school behind us. After every match, the school Instagram had posted something with an update on how the tournament was going. When we returned, the whole school knew of our accomplishments. That is something you will not find at a larger public school. The whole school knew what was happening and was behind us 100%.
My junior year, I decided to start pole-vaulting again (I quit after 8th grade) after the track coach saw me taunting my little sister about how I could do better. He told me to put my money where my mouth was and to join the team. I agreed. I won sectionals and qualified for State. After pole vaulting for only a few weeks, I ended up placing 6th at State! This year, I decided I was not going to wait for the middle of the season to join the track team, but that I was going to work hard and find a way to fit track practice in with my tennis schedule. JPII allowed to me compete for both the tennis and track team, something a public school would not allow. My hard work paid off as I ended up becoming the 5A pole vault State Champion a week after returning home from the State Tennis Championships. I was the only private school vaulter in the top 12.
I know for a fact that a bigger public school would not have allowed to me the experience to learn and grow as a football captain, a tennis captain and state qualifier, and a track state champion. I cannot recommend the coaches, the trainers, and the overall athletic department at JPII enough. I am the person that I am today because of the opportunities JPII gave me.