Top 10 Things that Happened for Me in 2016

2016 was a crazy year and although there were some points that weren’t the best, it was filled with amazing experiences and events. Here are my top 10 (in no real order)

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Miss Staten Island 2017: One Week In

It is still surreal to look back at one week ago and remember that yes, I was actually crowned Miss Staten Island 2017. I first got involved in the Miss America Organization in 2013, where I competed for the title of Miss Staten Island 2014. And by competed, I mean I kind of just did it for the experience. I had no chance of winning and I kind of knew that and was okay with that. I just wanted to say I did it. I wasn’t even necessarily planning on doing more than one pageant.

Too bad the pageant bug bit and I was hooked. Continue reading

How to Know if Online Classes Are Right For You

Online Classes blog

For so many college students, the new semester is beginning. That means getting back into a routine of getting up, getting ready and heading to classes. Or for me, that means rolling out of bed and sitting on my computer. That’s because all of my classes are completely online. I am currently studying through SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning. There is a pretty heavy stigma that can surround online schooling, including the ideas that it is easier or that it isn’t as valid as sitting in a physical classroom. Well, I am here to debunk those myths and help you see if online classes are right for you! Continue reading

What Happens at a Broadway Tech Rehearsal (and why you should see the revival of Spring Awakening)

Last week, I found out that I had one a giveaway to sit in on a tech rehearsal for the upcoming revival of Spring Awakening. First of all, I may have screamed just a bit. I was very excited. I have been through many tech weeks, but seeing a tech of a Broadway show is completely different.

I got into Manhattan at around 7pm, went to Starbucks (of course) and then went to wait for Alice to come get myself and the other person who won with me, Isaac (whom I had met while waiting).

At 7:30 or so, we went into the theatre and met Ken Davenport, the producer of Spring Awakening (and the person who did the giveaway in the first place). We sat down and I started to just look around and take everything in.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in what the amount of computers/technology that filled the theatre. Every table had a computer (and the tables where the lighting and sound people were had a ton of technology).

Second, I noticed how everything worked like a well oiled, slightly chaotic machine. It seemed like everything was hectic, but in reality, everything was running pretty smoothly.

I got to come in as they were finishing some teching for the last two numbers of the show. I also heard a few songs and got to watch the first few scenes of the show.

Overall, it was a really interesting process. There was a lot of stopping to correct sound, lighting, cueing (I’ll get a bit into why that is so important in a sec) and blocking. Seeing how everything slowly gets built up to be the show that everyone sees was really eye opening.

Some pictures from my amazing night

Some pictures from my amazing night. Thanks to Ken Davenport and Alice for putting this together and making the night great (and for the pizza haha)!

The most interesting aspect of this show is that half of the cast is deaf/hard of hearing and the show is done simultaneously in spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). That is why “cueing” is so important. Since many of the cast members can’t hear, they have to be sure that the actors have small cues that help them know when to begin signing.

The ASL is a fantastic aspect of the show. Not only does it make the show more accessible for deaf/hard of hearing individuals, but ASL is a beautiful language.

I feel like I was able to learn a lot as an actor from watching the deaf actors, as they are extremely expressive.

The actors who play the “voices” of the deaf actors are amazingly talented (and many are versed in multiple instruments).

So here are my reasons for seeing the revival of Spring Awakening if you are in the New York area between September 8th and January 9th:

  1. You will be exposed to a new language
  2. You will be in awe of the talent from all of the actors
  3. You will be captivated by the story and how the deaf actors add a new depth to the story
  4. You will love the music and the harmonies
  5. The theatre is intimate and beautiful
  6. You just should. Seriously stop questioning and go buy a ticket

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My Mental Health Story

Whenever I tell people I’m an advocate for mental health, the first question I get is “why?”. I could answer this by rambling off statistics, talking about stigma or telling them about all of my family members/friends who have struggled with their mental health and sometimes I do just this. However, I always talk about my true personal connection; the real reason I advocate for mental health. I have an anxiety disorder.
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