Senior Showcase: High School Drama grad lands spot in competitive college program

It's not a given that because you attended the UNCSA School of Drama's high school program that you will automatically be accepted into the college program. Jackson Pelz was one of 620 applicants for around 28 spots this year. So when he steps across the Stevens Center stage as part of the high school commencement ceremony, it will be the start of appearing in many UNCSA productions.

1. What’s an opportunity you had at UNCSA that’s different from other high schools?

You are always witnessing creative minds and artists at work. Performances of all sizes and from all departments happen all across campus. Inspiration is always available.

2. If you could say thank you to one person at UNCSA, who would it be? Why?

Kelly Maxner, the director of the High School Drama Program. Kelly is the reason why I am at UNCSA. He is always available to students for any purpose, from college help to monologue research, and always supports students' artistic creative ability. He gives special attention to each individual student, and helps them in the exact ways they need to grow.

3. What’s your favorite performance or class you were a part of at UNCSA? Why?

My Chekhov class, taught by acting teacher Tanya Belov. This was the first year high schoolers were given an education in Russian theater and Chekov. It was a class where I could easily learn and enjoy myself. Tanya is an extremely experienced, thoughtful and hilarious teacher, who leads the class through classic Chekhov plays and always challenges our thinking as artists.

4. What was your favorite academic class? Why?

AP Psychology. I had always wanted to take a class in psychology, and it was a beneficial class to wake my mind up every morning. The class is well-balanced between preparing for exams and delving into topics of interest. Ms. (Beth) Thompson is an understanding, energetic and kind teacher, who understands the needs and wants of her students.

5. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Why is it special?

I just love that spirit that makes people do things that they probably shouldn't.

Johnny Knoxville

This quote has always stuck out in my mind. It’s such an accurate description of a combination of anxiety and excitement, which is a fairly common feeling I have.

6. Tell us something you wish someone had told you when you were a new student at UNCSA.

Coffee actually works... and always be aware of where you put your shampoo.

7. What’s something valuable you learned at UNCSA?

It is absolutely fine to need/want alone time on campus. Drama students have a packed schedule every day with arts classes—and on top of that I had four academic classes. Being surrounded by people all the time can be exhausting, so it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to hang out with people during all of your free time. It’s not rude or weird. Know what you need outside of school and make time for it.

by Elizabeth White

May 11, 2017