On Jan. 29, the University of Arizona’s School of Film and Theatre Arts was teeming with aspiring Thespians from all over southern Arizona, competing at the annual Southern Arizona Acting Festival.
Returning for the third year to show their acting chops were math and science students from Sonoran Science Academy.
The 200-strong high school fielded an impressive cast of more than 25 students, who performed and competed in various categories. SSA students excelled in three categories and qualified to compete at the state-level competition.
Performing the song “Nicest Kids in Town” from the musical “Hairspray” were Amy Sizer, Kalyen Montgomery, Brandon Ross, Daniel Bellows, Reilly Bello, Tera Babb, Allison Hrabar, Jacquie Buller, Alex Gibbons, Reem Anouti, Adriana Hanson, Erin Cloutier, Brandon Thandi and Casey Jargo. Their performance earned them a spot at the state-level contest.
In addition, Casey Jargo and Amy Sizer will compete in the state Duo Acting Scenes category, while Fiona Davey will compete in the Costume Construction category. She designed and handmade an elaborate medieval head dress for a character from the musical “Once Upon a Mattress.”
Ashlee Votroubek, SSA’s drama and musical theater teacher, is thrilled with the students’ achievements. With limited resources and without the luxury of an auditorium, the enthusiasm and support of the school community often makes the impossible possible, she noted.
Learning about cultural arts is an important aspect of a school’s curriculum, said SSA Principal Fatih Karatas.
“While our focus is on math, science and technology, we believe that students should have a solid foundation that includes liberal arts,” said Karatas. “When we look at students around the globe, often the comment is that creativity is sacrificed for rote learning. We continually strive to provide an environment where a student is encouraged and supported as they explore their potential in all arenas. The achievements of our thespians (in January) wonderfully reflect our mission.”