I started attending The First Academy when I was in first grade after my family moved to Orlando. When I was not in class, my time at The First Academy was spent inside of the black box theatre where I cultivated a passion for the arts, a love of teaching, and a desire to share the arts with children in a school setting. I am currently a sophomore at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where I am pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre for Youth with career aspirations to teach theatre at the collegiate level. I have had the opportunity to perform in numerous productions with the Samford Theatre and teach theatre at the Alabama Children’s Home and preschools all around Birmingham. In January I will be a part of launching a theatre program at a rural school in Moundville, Alabama.
I have also received many awards through Samford Theatre, including Best Freshman. If not for the theatre program at The First Academy, I would not be where I am today. Troupe 5165 had the most amazing impact on my life and taught me how to encourage fellow artists in an industry that is so focused on comparison. The First Academy taught me how to keep the Lord at the forefront of everything I think, say, and do. That has been exceptionally helpful in entering into a field that so desperately needs the Lord. I have been able to be a part of a church plant (HighPoint Church of Birmingham) where I have seen the Lord move in miraculous ways all throughout Birmingham. Without the passion for God that was instilled in me through my time at TFA, I would not have been able to see the amazing work that He has done in Birmingham.
There have been so many people through my twelve years at TFA that have had an impact on me, but specifically, my junior year English teacher, Mrs. Penny, taught me how to see beauty in everything and that anything was possible with God. Mrs. Livesay, who was our theatre director my freshman year, shaped me as a performer and ultimately inspired me to pursue teaching theatre full-time. She taught me how to freely express myself on stage and that I was allowed to fail, and do so boldly. Mrs. Brown and Ms. Pierre-Louis, who taught my Chemistry and AP Chemistry classes respectively, inspired me to test everything. They showed me that there is order in this beautifully chaotic world that we live in and that it is completely okay to try and fail. The faculty at TFA have been some of my biggest role models as I venture into the world of teaching, but they have also shown me the love and grace of Christ in the most beautiful and palpable way.
Through my time at The First Academy, I learned many things: academics, artistic expression, and the grace of the Lord, to name a few. I found that I was completely prepared for college after my graduation from TFA. I could go into college confident in who I was as a person, an artist, and a follower of Christ. The theatre department at TFA and Troupe 5165 prepared me for the intensity of a collegiate theatre schedule and showed me how to incorporate my faith into the art that I create. Overall, I could not have asked for a more encouraging environment than the one that I found in Troupe 5165 and The First Academy. I was, and always will be, a Royal!