For many students, art classes provide the ability to let go of the structural school schedule and express themselves freely, enriching the creative and performing aspects of academia. Through art, both a sense of unity and a sense of individualism can be created. After the school Art Show on April 27, the Milestone asked some of the featured students about why their art is important to them.
Senior Lexi Gauger- Ceramics, Liturgy Choir, Band
“Artists are the storytellers of society…They create expressions of both the values and the issues of the world that are useful for understanding and processing the context of the world we live in,” Gauger said. She felt that having an art class during the day is “an excellent way to take a break from the stress of daily school life…It’s valuable to take time to practice being creative every day.” She added that the art department at McNick, like in many other schools, doesn’t have the opportunity to get enough recognition since art events happen less frequently than sports events.
Senior Thomas Moore- Theater, Liturgy Choir
Moore said that setting foot on stage is a feeling like no other. “Being up on stage makes me feel alive… it’s truly a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything else” Moore said. He has been singing and acting as early as the fifth grade, but over time, he has become “more dedicated…I practice so much harder, and I love the work that I do.” One of his favorite memories during his time at Rocket High was when “Mrs. Fries complimented me by giving me a handwritten thank you note…it meant a lot to me that she would take the time out of her day to do something like that for me,” Moore said. Moore’s dream is to make it to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and will further his career in opera singing in college at the University of Toledo.
Senior Brett Liming- Architecture
Liming said he has a very strong appreciation for architecture and architects after having been in the class for almost two years. “Architects are big in the world since without them, we wouldn’t have a home to live in per se. Without them, the houses would be bland and no one would know what they want,” he said. Liming also felt that artistic electives “offer you a way to express your view on the world and how you think things should be.” He wished more artists, including those in architecture, would get more recognition for their work. He said, “people don’t look at the architecture of a building, they only see the face of it.”
Junior Elyse Thaman- Color Guard, Theater
Art is important to Thaman because it’s simply something she’s always loved and it offers her something to do. She said she does not think people receive enough recognition for their art, adding that “there’s a clear disparity between people that pay attention to sports versus performing and creative arts.”
In order to keep her mind on her artistic aspirations, Thaman keeps a list of dream roles in musicals she wishes to play someday. She added that her performing arts experience has helped her become more confident. “I’ve gotten a lot better as a vocalist. I was kind of shy. I still am kind of shy, but getting on stage is far easier now,” she said.
Freshman Ian Phillips- Theater
“Theater is a different way to express yourself at school because you go to a normal class from a fun class where you can let loose,” Phillips said. He said he’s become more outgoing, friendly, and involved in school due to being a part of the performing arts. He doesn’t think people get enough recognition for their hard work, especially because “there are always people with small parts that don’t get the recognition they need and deserve.” Nevertheless, he is glad to have been welcomed into the performing arts community as a freshman and will continue taking these electives throughout the rest of his time at Rocket High.
Sophomore Kristin Davis- Liturgy Choir
Davis has always had music tied in with her daily life. “I was young [when I realized my talent for singing] and I don’t remember a time music hasn’t been a part of my life. I love that it was a way for me to get involved as being a first-year student,” she said. Davis added that having the time to work on her art at school has helped her learn her voice a lot more and helped her in improving her art.
One aspect of choir she will always appreciate is the faculty and staff’s responses to their performances. “I remember [theology teacher Jeff Hutchinson] sent out an email and a playlist of all that we sang for the Christmas Concert at Guardian Angels and Mrs. Beckert said she enjoyed it. She even brought her mother there,” Davis said.
Senior Fernando Aguilez- Photography
Aguilez’s favorite part of the day is unwinding in his photography class. For him, photography is a way to “allow students to have a creative outlet by taking photographs of seemingly normal, everyday objects.” This is his first year in photography, but he said many people have complimented him on his noticeable change in such a short amount of time. “My classmates have told me I have gotten better and [photography teacher Rebecca] Carmel told me I improved tremendously and was her most improved photo student of the year,” Aguilez said. His dream project involves “focusing on nature, traveling to many parks that look different…I love focusing on animals and sunlight,” he said.
Senior Faith Miller- Independent Studio Art
Miller said she lives by the fact that “you need to just have fun with art.… Don’t worry about what others think. If you like it and it makes you happy, then that’s all that matters.” Miller is a four-year art student and uses traditional art “as a creative outlet that other forms of art like theater can’t do for me, so I draw, draw digitally, and paint.” Her favorite part of art is the digital side, but she enjoys using markers and colored pencils as well. “Art is everywhere, even if you don’t notice it…You need art but it’s not a necessity; it’s always there whether you stop to admire it or not,” Miller said.
Sophomore Ben Bravard- Theater, Improv club
Bravard enjoys theater since “it allows you to experience many different aspects that you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to. You can see things from different perspectives and you can transform into different people.” He has always enjoyed acting and comedy from a young age, but he was in kindergarten when he performed his first stand-up comedy routine. His practice has changed over time in the sense that “it’s become more natural for me… it’s less of a worry and I look forward to practicing since it’s an opportunity to grow as a performer.” Bravard’s most memorable response was during his first talent show this past year at Rocket High. “A woman stopped me in the theater and grabbed me while saying how good my performance was. It was really weird, but she wanted me to know just how good she thought I performed, so it was a good feeling.”