Mallory Avnet ’16
Currently Attending: University of Michigan
Years at Shipley: 5
Activities & Positions Held: Fall Plays, Winter Musical, Spring Shakespeare; Arts Co-Head
Feeling Welcomed & Celebrated
From the minute I walked through Shipley’s front doors, students were approaching me, walking me to my locker, inquiring about my interests, and inviting me to sit with them at lunch. I felt included. I felt welcomed and celebrated in ways I had never experienced.
Before coming to Shipley, I had become comfortable with being the “quiet kid.” I almost never voiced my opinions and often found myself swallowing my thoughts and theories instead of sharing them because I was scared. Shipley tore down that wall the minute I decided to audition for the Middle School musical. I had always loved acting, but because of my insecurities, I found myself holding back from letting out all that I had to give. Not at Shipley.
I was inspired to be my best self, pushed to dare bigger, and challenged to rise up to my own expectations of myself. The entirety of the eighth grade musical, The Wizard of Oz, is my favorite Shipley memory because that is when I found myself. During the rehearsal process, I slowly let go of my insecurities. I reached higher, dared bigger, and smiled wider with each and every practice. Not only did I make friends for a lifetime, but I also finally became the girl I so longed to be.
My hesitations to be funny, to be outrageous, to be a little crazy melted away the minute I stepped foot onto that stage. At Shipley, I became able to recognize my own fears and teach myself that they did not make me weaker, but rather, stronger. Instead of running away from them, I learned to stare them straight in the eye and run towards them head on.
The Magical Mr. Brown
Mr. Brown has this sort of magical air about him. Never have I ever felt more encouraged or supported by a teacher in all of the schools I’ve attended. Each of his classes is unique to his students. I never saw what was coming next. One day we were crawling around pretending to be animals, the next we were finding the source of energy within ourselves.
Mr. Brown’s passion and love for the craft of acting and creativity is infectious; it’s impossible not to catch his enthusiasm while standing in the same room as him. Not only that, but Mr. Brown is still involved in the acting world today. It is such a privilege to learn from a professional who shares the same dream as you. He is such an inspiration to me in my life because he never gives up. Every day he walks into school with a positive attitude, a smile on his face, and the desire to create something amazing.
Into the Woods
My most memorable experience at Shipley was my senior musical, Into the Woods. I am a HUGE Stephen Sondheim fan and have been itching to perform in one of his musicals since I learned what musical theatre was. To be able to perform an amazing piece of theatre with your best friends in the world is one of the greatest joys I have experienced in life. Watching my friends and cast mates transform into complicated, zany, and very honest characters was truthfully breathtaking. The cast and crew created something so magical; the feeling was palpable on the stage.
Plans for Fall 2016
I will attend the University of Michigan for my BFA in Acting.
My dream is to be an actress. I want to connect with the people out there who need a helping hand or a confidence boost by making them laugh, cry, or simply feel whatever emotions they have tried to suppress. I have always known that this is what I wanted to do with my life, but Shipley has given me the confidence to actually chase after this dream. I know that it is going to be incredibly challenging and at some points it will feel impossible, but Shipley has instilled a passion and drive within me that will encourage me in tough times to never give up and keep pushing forward.
Shipley has prepared me to spread kindness, inspire vigor, and give love and compassion to all who need it.