Taking part in Little Shop of Horrors
Musicals are something that I’ve always liked from afar. As a person, I’m very loud and energetic but it wasn’t until the end of middle school that I realized how much I liked performing. I really love being a part of something a group of people lovingly work together on to build from the ground up. When I first joined the YIS community, it was two years until I got the chance to participate in a musical. I jumped right on it and ended up with the role of one of six skid row girls from the musical Little Shop of Horrors. We worked after school two days a week for six months and managed to pull everything together in the very last weeks before the performance.
For me, this event was very important in learning more about the kids in grades below me. I knew many kids who had graduated in years past or who are graduating soon but being a part of a group of six girls from all grades helped me to start to get to know some of the kids I hadn’t met before. Sometimes people get caught up in their own lives and grades and it was nice to see a variety of other kids who I hadn’t met but now feel comfortable talking to briefly in the hallways or at events even though the musical itself ended nearly 3 months ago.
Being in a musical also meant that I was able to be a part of the actual music process and bringing everything together from the start to the end. I really enjoyed watching the group go from confused actors to their characters and learning choreography that started out being really difficult but was easier when we could teach each other. The first run through that my group did was also done in front of our first audience. For me, this was nerve-wracking but for some of my friends, it was much more terrifying. At the end of the first performance, I was so proud that we had managed to pull everything together and how well it all went. More than anything I was proud of how hard each person had worked individually as well as together in order to pull everything off as well as it went.
Community engagement – Starting the Mental and Social Health Club
CAS was something that I didn’t mind taking part of in the IB, but I found that there were no service clubs that I felt particularly attracted to. There was a great number of them, but each of them worked towards a cause that I did not feel particularly applied to me. In order to solve this issue, I contacted a friend of mine and worked to start a new club that would serve the community like no other group had before. The Mental and Emotional Health Club, also known as MEHC! I created this group in an effort to ‘raise awareness, reduce stigma, and offer anonymous help to those who may feel they are in need of support in any way’ in relation to mental health. I felt that although the school community I am in is a comfortable and positive community, it would do well to have a group that faced these things involved in it. So far, the group has 10 members and we have been planning many upcoming events although we have not yet hosted any.
This club is very important to me because it represents something that I believe is not talked about enough. I have had many friends who have struggled with all manner of mental health issues and it’s very important to me that these people are safe. It can be frustrating for me to worry that there are people around me who may need help but don’t know how or where to get it. This group is something that I spend a lot of time working with. I am careful to plan out meetings in advance to be sure that the time in the meetings are spent as well as possible. I really enjoy working with the other students and coming up with a variety of ideas to work with the school community. More than anything, this group lets me feel like I’m making a difference. Because I am really the leader of this group and the creator, it allows me to make it whatever I want and not need to follow what past leaders of the group have done. Starting the group from scratch has been very rewarding for me mainly because I get to be such a big part of every project we do from start to finish and I get to see the effect we have on the school community.
Recently, a student from a nearby school got in a car crash and was tragically killed. In order for us to support this school, we are working towards folding 1000 cranes to give to them. In the Japanese custom, 1000 cranes are a symbol of hope or a wish. We decided to do this for the school but also as a way to bring the community together. We spent one Thursday folding and although we only got to about 450 out of 1000, the folding continues. It was really nice to watch people from the community drop in and out teaching each other and having a calm Thursday afternoon. This project is one example of how I hope to see the community come together as a result of the MEHC. Although this club is only at its beginning, I’m looking forward to continuing to watch it grow and be a part of the school community.