*student profiles from school year 2016-2017
Myrha Qadir found the spotlight in sixth grade and has never looked back. “I was cast as the understudy to Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. I was only on the stage for about two seconds as an extra, but I fell in love with it,” Myrha said.
And the crowds loved her. Myrha soon made a reputation for herself as a serious actress, expanding her talents with each year. “The year we did Fiddler on the Roof was a challenge because it was the first time I was asked to play a male character. All the musicals were fun. I think playing the role of Cinderella’s evil step-sister is the most fun I’ve had on stage,” she said.
In her senior year, Myrha debuted her own original play, Placebo, to rave reviews from the audience. While she was planning to study psychology with a possible minor in theater, she was still a little sad to leave APA. She said, “I’ll miss my friends, the theater, the whole experience.”
Most summers, you can find Will Lupton on the job with the Appalachian Service Project. “It is a faith based program that serves families in need by doing construction projects,” Will said.
Will had worked at putting on a tin roof, replacing underpinning, building a wheel chair ramp, and replacing flooring in various rooms. He said, “I like working in construction, and I get to meet people you would never normally meet. It makes you very appreciative of what you have. People are so happy that you have come to help and spend time with them.”
Combining his love for construction and helping others, Will planned to study engineering and business and felt that his time at APA and his service work had helped to put him on the right path. Of his service work, he said, “I’ve learned that God is very real. He sent me up there for a reason, and I’m glad he did.”
Starting at the age of three, Jane Fields has always been passionate about playing the violin. “I grew up learning to play,” she said. “I’ve learned to love classical music and chamber music.”
Jane felt that she had benefitted from her time in APA’s orchestra program. “I’ve learned more from the orchestra setting here than in private lessons. I have been able to see how all the instruments work together, as well as learn from other students,” she said.
Jane’s music had led to many opportunities, including her participation in several honors programs, such as the Eastern Youth Orchestra at ECU, the Cannon Music Camp, and the Summer Chamber Music Intensive at ECU. She hoped to attend UNC-Chapel Hill and major in music with a minor in Spanish. She said, “I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, but music will definitely be a part of it.”
Coming to APA three years ago as a sophomore, William Alexander-Lee had a different perspective of the school than most. “I went to a large public school in Alabama where sports were very big and competitive. Here, sports were still competitive, but the academics were on a whole new level.”
William found his place on the soccer team, and also made new friends in other competitive ventures. “Ping pong is something I started playing with my dad, and we did a few tournaments. I’ve played with some friends here and at ECU. I also got serious about chess a few years back, and I’ve spent time playing with friends at school during lunch or online.”
Working hard to keep his grades up, William felt that APA had prepared him for the next step. “I didn’t have to work very hard at my old school, but here has been a different story. I think the work ethic I have acquired here will definitely help me in college.”
Not many people can say they have encountered the world’s deadliest diseases up close, but Sydney Thomas spent a week at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA doing just that. “We took college courses on disease control and biotechnology. We talked with researchers who had actually worked with the Ebola virus in Africa, and we were allowed to enter high level labs and actually see some of the highest risk diseases kept in restricted areas,” she said.
Planning to study medicine, Sydney wasn’t sure of her specialty, but was keenly interested in deadly diseases. “We saw maps of the most recent outbreaks all over the world. It was scary but exciting at the same time,” she said.
Sydney admitted that she would miss the closeness of the soccer team and her APA family after leaving for college. She said, “I would tell anyone just getting started to experience everything you can. It goes by fast.”
Taking pictures is something that comes naturally to Lauren Fletcher. Finding her way to the art room, Lauren began to get serious about photography during her freshman year. “I like to take pictures of everyday life and things that happen in nature,” she said.
Her standing frog photo won a National Silver Key for Lauren, and the first National Scholastic Key for APA. Last year, Lauren made APA history once more when she earned a National Gold Key for photography, marking the first time an APA student had won gold at the national level. “I spend all of my free time in the art room. Mrs. Miller really pushes me to work hard and to go the extra mile with my artwork,” she said.