Olsen Selected as Student Speaker for State of California High School Performing Arts

As of Jan. 15, 2023, senior Bradly Olsen has been selected by the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA) to represent the Performing Arts students of California at the state capital in March. 

Olsen was awarded this role while in attendance at the annual CETA festival with Theatre at the Mount.

“I was chosen to be the Stand-up for Students Speaker, which is the standard for Arts Education on March 22. And it’s at the Capitol and a bunch of representatives from different arts backgrounds come and speak about how you should keep supporting theater, music, or visual arts,” Olsen said. 

Although Olsen was selected for this role, she did not originally apply for it. 

Olsen with Fellow Everybodys from Fall Production | Photo Courtesy of Addyson Dempsey

“I applied for another scholarship that I didn’t get. But for that I had to submit an essay as one of the requirements, so I’m pretty sure that they read my essay and liked it a lot. I’m going to be speaking a revised version of that,” Olsen said. 

Olsen originally applied for the Vivian Bush Scholarship, a scholarship made for future theater educators entering college. 

“[If I were picked for the scholarship] I would get a scholarship once I confirm that I’m majoring in theater. However, I realized after that I don’t really want to be a theater educator.  I want to be in theater just not as an educator, but maybe somewhere down the line, I do want to be a mentor to people, but right out of school  going into the education field is not particularly my first choice. I could see myself in that general area someday though,” Olsen said. 

With the great responsibility of this role, Olsen is unsure about the details of being the student speaker. 

Bradly Olsen | Photo Courtesy of Bradly Olsen

“I don’t know if I have to be there for an entire day, or the whole week. Do I have to converse with legislators as small talk, like in the movies? Or am I just getting up on a podium, speaking, and then going home? I don’t really know what it looks like,” Olsen said. 

This role has brought on an exciting opportunity for Olsen, with her interest in policy and lawmaking. She will be able to talk directly to legislators about the funding and furtherment of highschool performing arts programs. 

“I’ve always been really interested in lawmaking, and my childhood dream was to be a Supreme Court justice.  It’s cool that I can combine my two passions, and just talk directly to the legislators in California,” Olsen said. 

For Olsen, this is a big opportunity. Just recently moving to California  from Virginia, she expresses how her multiple moves have furthered her knowledge of the performing arts, with Stacy Walker, the theater director and teacher at MC, being her last highschool theater teacher. 

“I think especially because I want to pursue directing, I’ve lived in so many different places that I don’t just have Stacy as my one example or guide. I’ve just experienced so many different people. I’ve had so many different directors, so I’ve figured out what I stand for and how I want to run a program if I ever become an educator, ” Olsen said. 

Olsen plans to further both her acting and technical interests through directing in theater and film. 

“It’s kind of cool that directing allows me to be a part of everything. For me just applying to be an actor  or technician seems so restricting.  It’s just not encapsulating everything that I want to do,” Olsen said. 

Olsen is honored to have this opportunity to speak on behalf of students in the performing arts programs across the state. She is optimistically looking to the future for her furtherment in her theater education in college. She anticipates meeting other students chosen to attend the event at the capital. 

Written by Addyson Dempsey

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