Graduating Vashon High School theater students (top row, left to right) Gabriel Dawson, Madison Deck, Sedona Deck, (second row, left to right) Keagan Edwards, Alex Guthery, Grace Hall, (third row, left to right) Spencer Hartley, Gillian Kirkpatrick and Joel Weigner (Courtesy Photos).

Graduating Vashon High School theater students (top row, left to right) Gabriel Dawson, Madison Deck, Sedona Deck, (second row, left to right) Keagan Edwards, Alex Guthery, Grace Hall, (third row, left to right) Spencer Hartley, Gillian Kirkpatrick and Joel Weigner (Courtesy Photos).

Teachers salute seniors who shined in performing arts

This installment of an ongoing series recognizes seniors who have excelled in the performing arts.

  • Friday, June 12, 2020 2:40pm
  • Arts

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of highlighting graduates of Vashon High School. This installment recognizes seniors who have excelled in the performing arts.

Dr. Stephen Floyd heads the VHS theater program and, below, praised its nine seniors. Theater students in Vashon High School’s theater program were in rehearsal for the acclaimed play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” when schools across the state closed earlier this year. Three of the seniors were part of the production, the first non-musical the school would have presented as a spring show in 20 years.

By Stephen Floyd and Britt Dahlgren

For The Beachcomber

Gabriel Dawson’s enthusiasm and commitment to theater is unrivaled, and the grin on his face tells you how much he loves what he’s doing. He’s what’s known in show business as a triple threat. A capable actor, singer and dancer, he’s spent his high school years constantly performing in our community, with Drama Dock and Vashon Center for the Arts, at the Open Space and VHS.

Madison Deck exudes a quiet intensity on stage. A talented dancer, she brings that physical consciousness and control to her work as an actress, where she excels in physical characterization and the use of movement and gesture to convey thoughts and emotions. And when she sings, her sweet, angelic voice comforts like a lullaby.

Sedona Deck has true grit, a star-sized personality, and the powerful voice of a diva. Her performance skills are considerable, and her singing is skillful, appropriately soothing or exciting as the music demands, and full of heart and passion.

Keagan Edwards was once described in a conversation to me as “not acting, everything he does is just the way it would be in real life. So I take it back—I guess that makes him really the best at acting.” More than one of us who have worked closely with him have compared Keagan to a big, lovable puppy that brings a fun intensity to our work.

Alex Guthery began with us by playing in the band and has blossomed into one of the most consistent and reliable. His kindness, affability, humor and calm demeanor add up to a positivity that follows him wherever he goes and pervades the atmosphere. With Alex around, everyone relaxes into the work, and the work becomes fun—a real play.

Grace Hall’s energy and enthusiasm are a wonder to behold. She is a strong dancer and actress, with grace and sincerity infusing all that she does. And we got the added benefit of an occasional visit backstage from one of the guide dog puppies she has raised.

Spencer Hartley is a thoughtful and earnest young man who brings those qualities to the rehearsal and performance process. We could always count on Spencer for a wry comment that diffused the tension just when everyone needed it in rehearsals. Though he never had the goal to work in theater professionally, he always displayed a respect for the art and for his own part in creating it.

Gillian Kirkpatrick was the core volunteer, and eventually, a leader of our VHS Technical Theatre program, recruiting and training a group of newbies to continue the work after she graduates. She traveled as our stage manager when we performed in China at an International Youth Theatre Festival and contributed a great deal to the success of that show — and many others performed right here in our own theater.

Joel Wiegner embodies the spirit of collaboration that is the heart and soul of theater as an art. His comic instincts as an actor are finely tuned, and his easy-going humor makes us laugh offstage as well as when he’s performing. Widely read, mature, kind and respected by his peers, Joel has emerged as a leader in whom they, and I, have confidence.

Editor’s Note: Charles “Chick” Green, well versed in percussion, bass guitar, and piano, was the only senior in band this year. Band teacher Britt Dahlgren has high praise for Chick, below.

His musicianship is beyond that of many high school students and he has proven himself to be a leader by being an example —day in and day out. He set the tone for the rest of his percussion section by setting up the equipment early. He learned his music quickly, asked for assistance when he needed it, and helped his fellow percussionists, not in a way that embarrassed or condescended, but with patience and understanding.

Charles “Chick” Green was the only graduating senior in the Vashon High School band program this year (Courtesy Photo).

Charles “Chick” Green was the only graduating senior in the Vashon High School band program this year (Courtesy Photo).

At the WMEA State Solo & Ensemble Festival last year, Chick and a friend placed second overall in Small Percussion Ensemble – Duet. They took on the piece, practiced outside of school, and worked their way toward this accomplishment.

In addition to playing multiple instruments, Chick is a volunteer and Boy Scout. A creative and easy-going person, he easily falls into leadership roles, works well as a team member and, Ms. Dahlgren says, “You can count on him for anything.”


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