Two of our yong thespians from this summer’s Performing Arts Academy, Ms. Essence Diamond Green and Ms. Mattie Rene Alexander both whom attend Garfield High School, stopped by LHPAI to visit and I had the pleasure of speaking with them about their experience. Their insights are indicative of the impact LHPAI continues to have on youth and the salience of arts education for youth.
What was the most difficult part of dealing with adults this summer?
Essence Diamond Green: It was sometimes difficult to communicate because I speak to young people and adults in a similar way and I had to learn how to adjust that when speaking to adults.
Mattie Rene Alexander: It was a challenge working with adults because they often believe they are right but that is not always the case.
In what ways do you see the performing arts having had an impact your life?
EDG: This experience taught me the history of our background specifically how the KKK treated African American people in the south and how African American people were able to survive. It impacted me in terms of seeing how people are able to thrive despite intense hardship, especially with groups like the KKK still being existence.
MRA: This experience has impacted me by showing me that it takes a lot of hard work to do something you’ve committed to. You can’t just give up because it gets hard. I’ve acquired a lot of life lessons that I can carry into my adult years. It has also taught me about leadership and community. For those reasons, I will definitely come back next year.
What was the most exciting aspect of this year’s Summer Performing Arts Academy?
EDG: I learned how to dances of the time period specific to the play. Singing was completely new to me. Learning lines was a huge challenge but I was able to do it. Being in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environmental opened me up to new experiences that I learned a lot from.
MRA: The performance was amazing. The anticipation that built up in advance was awesome. Meeting new people was very exciting. It was awesome to meet a new group of people who I ended up becoming friends with and with whom I still hang out.