High school students explore theater career opportunities with ASU Gammage's School to Work Program

With its first field trip opportunity in 18 months, ASU Gammage’s School to Work provided high school students with a unique experience and new understanding of careers within the world of professional theater on Sept. 29.

Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Abbett Family Foundation, School to Work is one of the many educational programs provided by ASU Gammage. 

“It's a day that's devoted to teaching high school theater students about career opportunities in the theater that are not that are not performing careers,” said Desiree Ong, ASU Gammage Education Program Manager.

ASU Gammage welcomed theater students from Title I schools within the Phoenix Union High School District, leading them in interactive workshops about the departments of programming, marketing, development, operations, audience services and business services.

“We present them with options of what we do here at ASU Gammage, so they can start thinking about their own career path,” Ong said.

With this knowledge fresh in their minds, Access ASU Educational Outreach Director Isabel Alfaro talked to students about college preparedness and the unique resources offered by ASU.

“Presenting to students at School to Work was an amazing opportunity to highlight ASU's diverse programs and share resources with students,” Alfaro said. “Whether they are ninth graders or 12th graders, it's never too early to start preparing and thinking about their futures.”

Students were also given the opportunity to understand what it's like to work on a Broadway tour, through a discussion with Tyler Siems, associate company manager of "Hamilton."

Afterward, a field trip was taken to the ASU Library, where Julie Tanaka, librarian for the rare collections department, showed students original editions of the Federalist Papers, the Reynolds Pamphlet and George Washington’s farewell address, three documents mentioned in Act 2 of “Hamilton.” To end the day, students saw an evening performance of this world-renowned show, paid for by the Abbett Family Foundation.

“Everything was perfect — the vocals, the dancers, the emotion, the lighting and sound. It took my breath away,” said a sophomore from Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix.

For many students, it was their first time inside a professional theater, and Jeff Abbett and Jenniffer Jarvis from the Abbett Family Foundation were able to join and meet the students who benefited from their donations. 

A student from Maryvale High School, talking about the experience, said, “It's still very surreal to me; it was a dream come true.”

To learn more about ASU Gammage K–12 educational opportunities, visit www.asugammage.com/community/school-programs.

Arianna Reyna
amreyna6@asu.edu