October Club Students of the Month

November 19, 2021

Paige Wehner

Paige Wehner, a class of 2022 senior, has been awarded October Student of the Month for her leadership and dedication to Patriot Productions. Paige’s talent, positivity, and welcoming attitude carries on in and out of the school walls, evident by her authenticity and ongoing optimism. During this charismatic interview, she explains the importance of being a leader and the skills she’s learned and will utilize to achieve her aspirations.

First of all, congratulations! 

– Thank you! 

What drove you to be a part of Patriot Production? 

– I’ve wanted to act since I was nine and I’ve always wanted to do middle and high school Drama. Since I’ve been able to do it in high school, it’s just really fun and it’s my passion.

What made you take on a leadership role? What is your position? 

– I have been in the honors society [the International Thespian Society] since Freshman year, and I’m a part of the ITS executive board as a Member at Large. The girl across from me [referring to Emily] is actually the Secretary so that’s been really fun. I really like the club and we don’t have a lot of leaders this year and someone had to teach them [the ensemble] those harmonies.

Can you elaborate as to why you are teaching the music to fellow cast members?

– Yeah! So in rehearsals, we don’t really have our music director. She’s worked a bit with the show [All in this Together] but she isn’t entirely there, so I decided to teach people and work the music explaining “you’ve got to do this” and “you’ve got to do that.” Some of the people, especially the freshman, are new and don’t really know what’s going on so I wanted to help them out. We’ve also never done a show like this before. 

Are you in a leadership position in any other respect (other clubs or activities)?

– I would say I’m technically in a leadership role in Choir too. I’ve been in the class for four years because I love performing and that’s just what I want to do. Mrs. Conners [Choir teacher] asks me to help out and make sure things run smoothly. I help make sure all the younger kids stay on track, that everything gets handed out, and that everyone is okay. When we did the rhythm projects, I made sure everyone’s rhythms were okay. I’m pretty sure I actually went over to your group (laughs). 

You definitely did and I 100% needed your help! What type of qualities have learned by fulfilling these experiences, and how do you plan on utilizing them in the future?

– I’ve learned hard work from Drama because it’s a lot to memorize stuff [lines, music, and dances], and I did not realize that my freshman year, but I obviously do now. I’ve learned determination because even though you don’t always get the role you want, you just have to go back out there and you do it again and you keep doing it. You learn and you get better and then eventually, you finally do get what you want. These have been vital to learn because I know I definitely want to act in the future. 

So, do you plan to use these skills in your field?

– Yes, definitely. I want to go to school for Musical Theater and I’m currently in that process right now. I’m actually filming some of my auditions today. Being part of drama and choir all these years have taught me a lot about what I want to do in college, which will help teach me about the industry. 

Do you have any suggestions for people who want to be a leader in what they are passionate about but don’t know how to get into that type of position?

– Just be responsible and if your club advisor needs help, give them help. If you notice people aren’t paying attention or don’t know something, tell them and help them. If you’re helping out and your teacher sees you’re really responsible and are doing everything to help other people, then you will be in the leadership position even if your teacher doesn’t put you in one because other people will respect you. It’s all about respect!

Perfect! Random question: I know that you love reading, so what is your favorite book or what book immediately comes to mind?

– I don’t really have a favorite, but one book that comes to mind is called Flight Season. I was trying to buy it, but Barnes and Noble didn’t have a physical copy and it was only accessible on a Nook, and I don’t have a Nook. Nonetheless, it was a really fun book! I’m currently reading a really good book which I recommended to you because you know, we both love to read! 

Congratulations to Paige for this wonderful achievement, and good luck with all of your college and career endeavors! 

Here’s what Mrs. Richardson and Ms. Robbins, Patriot Players co-directors, had to say about Paige:

“Paige is truly an exceptional member of our club. Not only is she always prepared and professional, but she has also been going above and beyond to help the whole cast prepare for our upcoming performance of All Together Now. She is an exceedingly talented musician and has volunteered to do the musical direction for the show. That means she breaks down all the vocal parts, assigns them to the cast members, and teaches each song. She’s also mastered the use of our rehearsal music apps and has showed the entire cast how to use them to access their vocal parts. She has dedicated so much time and effort into this show – while preparing for her college auditions. She’s truly remarkable!”

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Gavin Pessel

Behold, one of our October Students of the month! Gavin Pessel is a junior here at FTHS. He received this honorable recognition thanks to his continual dedication, and outstanding leadership in our Art Club! In such a short period of in-person interaction during the past school year, Gavin continued to persevere through any challenges and maintained a progressing involvement as a member of this club. Gavin truly embraces the proper means of a respectful, responsible club member! Congratulations to Gavin on receiving this honorable mention – the Art Club is very lucky to have such a dedicated member!

For starters, what was your initial reaction to being announced student of the month?

– My initial reaction to being announced student of the month was at first surprised, but also appreciative knowing my efforts were acknowledged. 

Why do you believe that you were picked?

– I believe I was picked for my dedication to try to make everything as good as it can be, such as dedicating lunch periods and time during the club meetings to work on anything that needed to get done while also dedicating a lot of time, effort, and dedication on making sure my costume for the “Track or Treat” Halloween event was as accurate as it could be to the character Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. 

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities? If so, what are they?

– The extracurricular activity I am involved in is the art club because I’ve always had a creative personality, and being a part of it really allows me to be as creative and out of the ordinary as I usually am. 

How do you manage your time between school work and extracurricular activities?

– I manage my time between school work and extracurricular activities by attending any meeting or event that is directly after school first, and as soon as it ends, start any homework or assignment with an approaching due date.  

Do you have any advice for our new students entering the building next year?

– One piece of advice I have for any new student entering the building next year is to be themselves and find what makes them unique. I am not a very talkative person, but after being in the art club and making friends there, I notice that I have become a lot more open to people and expressive with my work and personality. 

Is there anything you would like to say to our students and staff?

– One major thing I would like to start off with is by thanking Ms. Alvarado, who has been an amazing teacher and friend throughout my time so far at Freehold Township, and for being the one who gives me the excuses to be creative and stand out. I would also like to appreciate ALL teachers and students who put in the effort to create an amazing school environment. 

How do you plan to continue your involvement in our FTHS community?

– I plan to continue my involvement in our FTHS community by once again participating in our amazing art club.

Congratulations to Gavin for his achievement and we’re all excited to see what you do with the Art Club in the future!  

Here’s what Ms. Alvarado, the Art Club’s advisor, had to say about Gavin:

“Gavin was the representative for the Art Club in regards to Haunted High School.  He attended the required meeting and took the lead in the event. Without him, the Art Club’s contribution wouldn’t be what it is.  He sacrificed his lunch period on several occasions to help prepare for the event. His talent, creativity, compassion, and willingness to lend a hand is not only admirable but something I am always grateful for. Gavin was also one of the Art Club representatives at this year’s Spooktacular Window Painting Contest. Gavin is amazing!”

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