Congratulations to the Class of 2022! Hear from seniors Mia Nadborne and India Renteria on their favorite Academy memories, what they’ll miss the most, and advice for incoming freshmen.
Mia Nadborne (Theatre ‘22)
Do you have any memories that you are going to hold or cherish over others?
Dating back to my freshman year, this has been the best place in the world, and the best high school experience I could have ever asked for. A lot of my formative experiences really happened when I was a freshman, because we were the last class to really experience life before COVID. The energy and experiences that I had in that first year — coming in new to a space where everyone is so devoted to their art, so welcoming and creative, and seeing all the traditions in full bloom — those I will always remember.
Do you have a favorite Academy teacher?
Ben Dicke is one of the best humans I've ever met in my entire life — the best department chair, the best director, the best artistic teacher. The way that he has been there for me in my arts and me as a person, and the relationship that he cultivates with every single one of his students, I don't know if I'll ever know a better teacher.
Also I've had Alex Cassidy all four years for science and I love Alex so, so much. I had biology, chemistry, anatomy, and then this year I came back to TA for chemistry.
If you could give some advice to an incoming Academy freshman, what would you say?
It sounds so cheesy, but be yourself — however you know how to be yourself, because you will change in a good way by just being your first authentic self that you know how to be. I came to this school as a very, very shy person. I could not talk in front of a class. I couldn't even raise my hand and answer a question. But I was kind to people, I was able to be there when they came to me, and those relationships just formed and blossomed on their own. Because people are able to see you for who you are. And you make great friends, who push you out of your shell to be your best person.
India Renteria (Musical Theatre ‘22)
Are you excited about graduating and moving on to what’s next?
It's that bittersweet thing of moving on – you finally feel like you're at your best, you know? You reached this point of "I've finally gotten to where I wanted to be." And once you hit that point, it's time to move on and be a freshman again. But when you're a senior here, you feel really accomplished — like “Okay, I feel ready to leave.”
I'm looking back at the underclassmen. I remember reading those scenes for the first time. And I remember having my first voice rep class. I did all that. And now it's my turn to go. I think all the seniors feel like they are ready to take on what is next.
Do you have a favorite Academy memory?
I directed the AIDS Benefit this year and I remember after the last performance the whole cast was on stage, and the cast was made up of students from all departments and all grades. I just really felt this strong sense of community. There's that word again. But we were all happy and crying, so united in that moment. If I were to describe The Academy to someone else, I would want to talk about that moment. We were all in the same place, feeling the same things, and united as a group.
What will you miss the most?
I believe there is no other place like The Academy. There is no other school like The Academy and there is no other community like The Academy. So I will really miss the community the most — there’s a vibe here. It's so friendly and everyone's very welcoming. It's like the type of place where all of the faculty members know your name, and you can say good morning to everyone and they'll greet you with a smile back. So I'm gonna miss that a lot.