Colton Corner: Students find confidence on stage
Cameron Clark plays the prince in Colton High School's spring musical "Cinderella". I remember talking to him before his first play. At that time he told me he had been talked into doing it, so after this year's play I asked what got him hooked. He explained it in an email:
"This is the third play/production I have been in, and yes, I was kind of talked into doing the first one," he said.
"I had decided to do choir instead of one of my classes last year because it was something different and hopefully would have gotten me out of the lack of enjoyment/enthusiasm I had at the time for school. While in it, I slowly became more confident and comfortable with my singing and Mr. Bruner (choir director, drama club adviser, teacher) and Shyann (Myers) had both suggested I try out for the musical.
"At this point, I was hesitant because me in front of crowds, no thanks," Clark said, "but I tried anyway because what was there to lose in just trying? It just so turned out I got a singing role and really enjoyed singing while on stage, although not actually being able to see the crowd helped (bright stage lights). It's like no one is actually there and you're really just acting with your friends on a stage.
"One of the reasons I enjoy it as much as I do is because it challenges me, and I know we've talked before about me enjoying any sort of constructive challenges (he was one of the lead programmers and captain of the robotics team), but drama is different.
"I've noticed myself being more confident and comfortable with myself in social situations," Clark said, "and have grown quite a bit because of the plays I've been in.
"Another reason is because it allows me to sing and I really enjoy being able to sing so that's a plus too. Also it's given me the opportunity to get better at effective leadership skills, like being able to guide others while also learning how they work and learning from them too.
"Overall, drama, for me at least, is a creative outlet that allows me to become better at the things I'm not the greatest at, and I have learned quite a bit about myself along the way," Clark said.
CHS senior, Shyann Myers, said being in drama took her from a super shy and quiet freshman to an open personality who can stand up and speak on the spur of the moment. She now has leadership skills she honed as student director of last fall's play "The Mouse That Roared" and now, besides having a major role as the Queen in Cinderella, she is also stage manager for the musical.
"I have learned a lot of skills in drama, such as public speaking, memorization and repetitive skills and I learned to translate these skills to educational endeavors and life," Myers said. "I went from being part of the chorus to an effective leader. I learned to encourage others, to help them be part of 'mattering' to the whole. I have made friendships in drama club that will last my life."
Myers is planning to attend the University of Colorado in Denver and major in the mental health field.
Alan Bruner said the kids in drama club work hard, not only on their parts, but also on stage setup and breakdown, the technical aspect of lights and sound as well as cleaning up the room after practice and performances.
Drama Club is self-supporting with money raised at the door from a play funding the next production. Bruner did say he is still hoping to win the jackpot and someday have a stage dedicated to just drama and not have to share time with sports and lunch.
Colton High School Theater is known for outstanding productions and they are successful because, as Myers said, the student actors work as a family and it is about heart and soul, the dedication to the work for their art form.