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Dear Friends of CET:
You have helped me answer some of the big questions.
From a young age, I’ve struggled to answer many of the questions buzzing around my head. Though I found success in the classroom, I was burdened by the less academic problems like, “where do I belong?” or “what do I do to make people like me?” These ones hit me the hardest in elementary school, when I was killing report cards, but dying to fit in.
My social angst inspired my mom to enroll me in CET just after I finished 5th grade. My closest friends had joined the program the year before, and Mom was hoping that the experience could help me connect with them and other kids my age. What she didn’t see coming was the connection that I would make with CET itself.
When I arrived at Leslie Middle School that September, and found that it had no theatre program to speak of, my Broadway dreams were largely dashed. As a result, middle school was pretty tough for me. It also made the differences between my friends and me more apparent. I learned that I’d sooner be in a play than play soccer. I’d rather sing than Snapchat. And the nonstop gossip and popularity contests of middle school never held my interest (a result of the empathy CET had cultivated in me).
So middle school was a slog for me; the same is true for many kids. But, lucky for me, I could always count on a season of CET to brighten my summer. I spent every school year longing for June, when CET would come back into my life. At CET, I was given the perfect chance to forget the prior year, free myself on stage, and be celebrated for being energetic, sensitive, and just plain weird!
Even though I felt at home when I was at CET, I always wondered: “do I really belong here?” You helped me answer that question. The “glamorous” life of a CET staff member wasn’t mine to experience until after my freshman year at South Salem High School, when I became a Teaching Assistant. Being a CET TA blew my whole world wide open. I learned from that opportunity that I love both teaching and directing! I’ve been amazed to find that my pride for the work of one of my students can surpass my own onstage fulfillment tenfold.
Your support of CET enabled me to find not only where I belong, but also where I’m going. My TA experience inspired me to join the Teacher Cadets program at South, where I learned even more reasons that teaching is right for me. Next September, I’ll be at OSU’s Honor College, studying theatre in hopes of becoming a high school drama teacher. But before I head off to college, I have one more summer at my long-time home; I’ll be returning for my final year as a CET TA! I’m really excited because I have my first opportunity to direct a production this summer!
Thanks to your generosity, I’ve been able to explore myself in a healthy and positive environment. Without your support, I could never have answered the existential questions whose solutions now serve as the bedrock of my person. Your continuing support of CET makes it possible for me and so many others to find where we belong.
Thank you so much!
CET Teaching Assistant, South Salem High School Class of 2017
P.S. Come check out the CET shows July 20-28, and see more kids who are having the big questions answered because of you.
You can make a secure gift to CET online — simply click our “donate now” button — or mail a check to us at:
Children’s Educational Theatre
710 Howard Street SE, Salem, OR 97302