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The LEAP Student Blog

'Shifting the Spotlight,' by Drew Fialho, Lake Washington HS
 3/29/2023 12:00:00 AM

Drew Fialho
Lake Washington HS, Class of 2023

It is my favorite time of year when the leaves finally start to fall off trees, and the temperature begins to get a little chilly. Both indicators mark the bittersweet end of summer, but it also signals that it is time to start preparing for my favorite event of the year. Of all the events Lake Washington High School has to offer, Freshman Orientation is my favorite. Two days before the event, we train our LINK Leaders to be mentors and welcome our new students to our community.

After our usual icebreaker activities, where we play intense Simon Says and embarrass ourselves by singing “Squaddaly Atcha,” we break out into our different crew groups. This year, my crew seemed very excited about starting school and all the activities we offer at LWHS. One girl especially was interested in our state-winning dance/drill team, while another was interested in our various academic clubs and CTSOs, like DECA and HOSA. Our athletics and clubs receive constant interest from students, but the one organization that does not seem to receive as much love from our community is our Theater and Performing Arts programs. While the WIAA encompasses high school sports and student activities, performing arts often slip through the cracks of recognition.

Our Performing Arts group at LWHS has just performed one of the best performances I have ever seen. I had the fortune of working directly with the team of actors to advertise their show, Legally Blonde the Musical. For 4+ months, students prepare for opening night. Fifty-one actors comprise the program’s on-stage actors, with another ~18 students working behind the scenes on lighting, sound design, playing music, and designing sets. Students dedicate multiple weeks (and often complete twelve-hour days) to each show. I know some students who have gotten to school at 7:30 am and did not leave until 11:00 pm to do it all again the following day. Actors and Techs finally see all their hard work put together during the week of opening night.

Opening night is a fantastic evening filled with just as much excitement as nervous jitters. When asked about opening night jitters, one of Legally Blonde’s actors said, “I’m always super nervous until I get on stage and the curtains open. Then, all the nerves instantly fade away and I remember why I love performing”. Closing night brings just as many emotions as opening night. In a sold-out house, our program put on one of the best performances I have seen. From Newsies in 2019 to Chicago in 2021, the LWHS theater program continues to amaze me with the amount of time, thought, and dedication that goes into every performance.

I was fortunate enough to host interviews of the cast on our school’s weekly broadcast, KANG TV News, as well as create a trailer spotlighting their upcoming show. The next time you think about a group that deserves more recognition in your community, think about your local high school’s performing arts program. Here is a glimpse into LWHS’s latest performance:

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March 2023

3/29/2023 'Shifting the Spotlight,' by Drew Fialho, Lake Washington HS
3/13/2023 'Pursuit of Excellence,' by Joey Lurie, Mercer Island HS
3/1/2023 'Why is Sports Medicine Education Important for High School Athletes?' by Rocky Srinivasan, Eastside Prep

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