Mr. Joe, my acting teacher, is the man in blue; Ms. Gina, the studio director, is in red-orange; Ms. Paige, my jazz and contemporary teacher, is in purple; and the last girl on the end is Snellings, one of my classmates.
Transcription of my senior send-off speech and my response speech from the studio banquet, because some of it is a little hard to hear.
Joe: “I’ve known Ginny less than a year, but in that year I have seen a kind and talented individual grown immensely as a performer and as a person.
“Ginny transferred to our studio at the beginning of this year: that’s not an easy decision for anyone, especially a rising senior. At the open house in August, I managed to convince Ginny to sign up for one of my theatre classes, after a lot of heckling. And very quickly, Ginny became a permanent fixture at the studio, a student that every teacher loved to teach.
“I could speak for a long time about Ginny’s many virtues: she’s genuine and kind, intelligent, and a strong student of the arts. If you missed ‘Singing in the Rain’ in Spring, you missed one of the best performances that the theatre group has seen in years, with her hysterical interpretation of Lina Lamont.
“I only regret one thing about Ginny, that she made the transfer so late in her arts career. I wish her well at St. Mary’s next year, where she plans to major in psychology (he got that wrong, I’m planning on majoring in cultural anthropology!!) and minor in dance. Ginny, continue on in the arts. It has been such an honor to teach you; to see your immense growth as an artist and as an individual; and simply to have known you. Good luck, and congratulations.”
Gina: “[Would you like to say something?]
Someone up front: “Do the Lina voice!”
Me: “Haha, no. Uh, hi, I’m kinda awkward so I don’t have anything written out, so I guess I’m just gonna say stuff. Um, so this is my first year at the studio, and I really wish it wasn’t my last as well. Um, I uh, um, I don’t really talk about this a lot, but I um… at my last studio I suffered a lot of bullying from students and other teachers, and by the end of my time there I really didn’t have much self-esteem or self-respect left.
“And then I came here, and everyone was so open and welcoming, and I didn’t feel about myself anymore. I felt.. I felt like I really found a place where people actually wanted to see me be myself and grow and… I’m really glad I got that chance. I’ve done a lot of things this year that I didn’t actually think I’d ever get the chance to do. I got to do a solo.”
Jess: (choreographer of said solo and arm-pumper off to the left) “Woohoo!!”
Me: “I’ve been on pointe, finally. I got to be a lead in a musical that I absolutely adored. And I just… feel so happy to have had this one year, and I wish I could have had more.”
Paige: “What Mr. Joe failed to say is Ginny’s uncanny ability to deal with my craziness in jazz class!”
Joe: “Sorry, Paige.”
Paige: “Yeah. She reminds me that I need to be a mature adult!”