December Club Students of the Month
February 8, 2021
Brianna Kirsch, who is a junior here at Freehold Township High School, is especially talented with performing arts and drama. She is a member of the FTHS Drama Club, Patriots Productions, and is greatly appreciated by her fellow peers and teachers! Her talent shines so bright when she is on stage, along with her amazing senses of leadership, dedication, and initiative. After spending just a short amount of time with the students and staff of Patriot Productions, she quickly took a significant role in their group. One of Brianna’s biggest accomplishments while involved in the performing arts and drama program was taking part as both a stage and auditions manager in their virtual play, #ENOUGH. Brianna also took responsibility in spreading plenty of awareness and information about their work, encouraging their audience to donate to the Fulfill Food Bank. Overall, Brianna Kirsch has already done so many awesome things, not only for her fellow members of Patriot Productions, but for the rest of her community, through entertainment and gracious donations. In this interview, you will hear even more about Brianna’s experiences as a FTHS Drama Club member, as well as her journey to this passion of performance.
Read the full interview below:
Grace Lorenzo: My first question is if you could be in one Broadway play, which would you choose, which character, and why?
Brianna Kirsch: This is a good question, because this was actually my first drama experience I’ve ever had.
GL: Oh, wow!
BK: It was definitely something very new to me. So, I’m not that familiar with Broadway, but I know that I definitely would want to be in The Lion King, because my grandpa has watched that, and ever since I was young, The Lion King is something that I’ve always been interested in, along with Disney. So, I would definitely want to be in The Lion King.
GL: I feel like those kinds of family traditions are always fun to continue and to remember as you get older, so that would be a great way to hold onto a piece of your childhood and your family. My next question is what inspired you and everyone in Patriot Productions to do a virtual play this year, and what was the message of #ENOUGH?
BK: #ENOUGH was a nationwide reading of year long theatre activism, and basically these were 10 minute plays about gun violence. I think activism about gun violence is something very important because it is a prevalent theme in our society today. Obviously I wanted to be a part of such a good cause.
GL: I think that’s really awesome that you guys were able to spread that much awareness about gun violence in such an intriguing way, like a play. I feel like that interested a lot of people to learn more about the cause that Patriot Productions is supporting.
BK: Yes, especially online too, because online it’s so different in the theatre world!
GL: To add onto the previous question, you were chosen for December Student of the Month for your leadership, dedication, and initiative, especially with running all of the auditions and becoming a stage manager for the virtual play. My question is what did you enjoy most about this experience, and, if anything, what was the most stressful?
BK: I enjoyed meeting everyone, and I felt like the play was such a welcoming environment. It was a new experience, too, especially getting to know everybody virtually. I was working with Mrs. Richardson and Ms. Robbins, and they were so understanding and really taught me how to do all of the work for the play. I think the most stressful part was reading the stage lines, since that was a part of my job. When I was first joining I didn’t even know what a stage line was! So I think learning everything and educating myself was definitely a stressful part.
GL: Yes, I’m sure trying to get into the routine of running the play must’ve been a challenge! Were all of the auditions online?
BK: Yes, the auditions were online.
GL: I’m sure setting up all of the virtual auditions was really hectic, as well as reading the stage lines, like you said.
BK: Yes, definitely.
GL: It’s good that, overall, it was a fun and positive experience. I think we can all agree that these past few months have been really tough with the pandemic and everything that has happened in 2020! Between juggling your roles in Patriot Productions, your social life, and your academic life, I’m sure there’s been some times when you’ve felt overwhelmed. So, the question I had was what is your favorite way to relieve stress during this time and the advice you’d give to help others relieve stress?
BK: I definitely agree with all of the stress, and I’m a student too, so I definitely have a lot of workload. I think just being in the moment and trying not to think too much about the future or the past really helps to relieve stress, because, inevitably, life is so stressful. So, you just have to take things one step at a time.
GL: Yes, I definitely agree with that advice, because these past few months have been a blur for everyone. It’s kind of just the same days over and over! So, being in the moment really helps you to realize what’s truly important and to get through those really tough days.
BK: And know you’re not alone, too, and that everyone is here for everyone.
GL: I’m sure being involved in the play has also taught you that everyone is always here for each other and that you’re all pushing through these times as a big group. My next question is, when you reached out to local politicians and the Central Office about the virtual play, also encouraging them to donate to the Fulfill Food Bank, was there an overall positive response? Were there any responses to the play that you and Patriot Productions were really excited to hear?
BK: There definitely was! We had to email a lot of people to advocate the play, so we got some donations, and a lot of people responded back saying, “Thank you for putting on this show, because it had such a big impact.” I think it’s important that these people saw our play because it allowed for more awareness to the community about gun violence, and played such an important part in advocating our cause.
GL: I’m sure it was really cool to see all of your hard work pay off and for everyone to give positive feedback. My next question is, was there anything that you wish you did differently while managing #ENOUGH, and if so, what?
BK: Actually I don’t think so! I feel like I spent a lot of time on it, and I was very dedicated to the play. I had a partner, Morgan O’ Shea, who was also working on it with me, and we were very helpful to each other. So, I think it went perfectly!
GL: It’s really cool that you guys were able to make such a meaningful virtual play in these unprecedented times, what you guys accomplished is really awesome! My last question is, seeing that you have a lot of passion for performing arts, are you going to continue on this road for your future career?
BK: I think this is just something that I want to try and be more involved in, but I don’t think it would be involved in my future career. It’s something so new to me, but I definitely want to keep developing more ideas for future plays and to help Patriot Productions with their performances.
GL: I think all of the skills you’ll learn from this experience, like the leadership and initiative, will really help you along in your future career, regardless of what you choose. Overall, from this interview and from what I read about you, I’m sure you’re very proud of yourself for everything you’ve accomplished, and you should be! Leading this play in a successful direction definitely took a lot of hard work and effort on your part to put this together. I think you’ll have a great future in Patriot Productions and later in life because of how much passion and dedication you put into this project!
BK: Thank you so much!
GL: You’re welcome!
GL: Is there anything else that you’d like to elaborate on or include?
BK: I just wanted to say how nice it was to have everyone work together on something so special, especially with all of the teamwork and everyone being able to come together. That mattered a lot, especially during the online portions.
GL: Thank you so much for taking the time to come to this interview! It really helped me to get more insight on your involvement in Patriot Productions for the article.
BK: Thank you so much for your time!
Vaughn Greason, a 2021 senior, exemplifies leadership and dedication that he will utilize in his life further on. His involvement in Future Farmers of America (FFA) here at Freehold Township Highschool earns him a spot as one of the December Students of the Month. Throughout his interview, he discusses why he joined FFA, the inspiration of his father, and advice he wants to give to all students.
Read full transcript below:
Emily Landolfi: My first question is what inspired you to join the Future Farmers of America club?
Vaughn Greason: What originally inspired me to join FFA is that I’ve always worked a lot with botany [the scientific study of plants] and not a lot of the programs around the area had an emphasis on that so when I was in 8th grade I thought, “Wow! This is a good opportunity to do this topic,” and it was.
EL: Okay, cool! Can you explain a little bit more about that and why it is important to you?
VG: As of now, something that the FFA has brought to me that I didn’t think it would is that it gave me a lot of opportunities to practice leadership, and it’s just a really good thing all together. It sets you apart when you apply to schools and it gives you kind of experiences with leadership. It gives you a lot of experiences with prepared public speaking or just public speaking in general. It’s very, very good! I also really like the community there. Everybody is really hardworking and motivated, especially having to do with service.
EL: Cool, cool! Is the community something you would tell people if you were recommending the club to them?
VG: Yes, definitely.
EL: In general, outside of FFA, who is your biggest inspiration?
VG: I’d say my biggest inspiration is probably my father. He’s dedicated his life pretty much to service, social justice like he works everyday to make sure that me and my brother live happy lives, so he’s really an enormous inspiration.
EL: That’s awesome! Do you plan on using the things he’s taught you and advocating for the same things he has in the future?
VG: Absolutely, yeah.
EL: As a senior, do you have any advice for underclassmen who want to get involved in clubs or even advocate for issues that you were just talking about?
VG: A large mistake which I made, well I have more advice having to do with clubs, but some advice for the whole volunteering, social justice thing is to always keep in my mind there are an enormous amount of opportunities not just at this school but all over Monmouth County for you to volunteer, to give back to your community all the time. And for clubs? I’d say do as much research on clubs as possible and once you find a club that you really, really enjoy and you feel like you can give a lot to, go for a leadership position there. It is so important just for so many things like you can open the door to amazing opportunities that most underclassmen… I mean I know at least I wasn’t even thinking about a lot of the opportunities that these leaders around me have been able to access because of their motivation to become leaders in these fields.
EL: That’s really awesome and I’m sure everyone really appreciates your leadership especially in the club and in general, so I think that’s really great! Kind of on the topic we were talking about earlier, are you planning on incorporating skills from FFA and, of course the things your father has taught you, in the future?
VG: Oh, yeah absolutely. Things my dad has taught me are just really, really good and it’s always motivating and I’ll always carry in that sort of tribe that he’s instilled in me. And for the FFA, something I’ll always keep in mind from them is that you always have to be prepared like if somebody gives you a task, you need to do as much as possible in order to make sure you do that task as well as you possibly can. I know to be prepared for lots of things like whatever someone gives me, I go the extra mile, essentially.
EL: Do you recommend any methods that you’ve used to go that extra mile?
VG: Something I’ve always, so specifically for presentation, something that people tend not to do which tends to help you a lot with presenting things is that you write a script on top of the presentation just for the slides that you are going to present. While the slides themselves should be pretty sparse and easy to look at, your script should really go in depth. That’s the first thing that jumps to mind that I learned from the FFA.
EL: Do you have any other tips or suggestions or even thank you’s you want to give out since I know it’s your senior year and times are crazy, so any words of encouragement for all grades?
VG: Essentially, advice that I would give to people that have worked for me is to take advantage of things like office hours, you know? Because they didn’t have that before and it’s more accessible than it has been for like most of the years. As long as you keep in contact with your teachers, you can see massive improvement in your grades, at least I have!