Another very busy day for these outstanding students at Harlem High School. Kelly Cook is hard at work keeping everyone focused on a big upcoming production.

“My acting class, which is what you’re watching right now is currently rehearsing for our Christmas Spectacular show,” Cook says. “Which we will perform December 9th and 10th here at the Harlem High theater.”
These young stars make it look easy, because they focus on theatre as a team.
“It’s very challenging, especially at first. But we have built a very strong community of family and just love and encouragement within this department. So that’s ultimately what leads them to be more confident in themselves is that encouragement from others and their peers.”
And the payoff? It’s not just here on stage.
“I would say 100-percent across the board, it’s confidence. That’s something students get out of my class. They leave it more confident in themselves, in their speaking abilities, in their performance, in their lives in general. They become a more confident person as a whole.”

And Mrs. Cook gets to witness that confidence even when they’re not in the spotlight.

“Most of my students are first to volunteer to answer a question or first to volunteer to read out loud in other classes, because they have that confidence built up in this class. So they’re able to be more interactive and engaged in their other classes.”

Better actors, better students, more well-rounded people. Kelly Cook sees it all in this auditorium. It’s what makes her job so rewarding.
“Ultimately I love the creative process,” she says. ” So seeing something, literally just be words on a page and then it’s light, sound, music, dances, songs, acting. Seeing students become different people on stage, it’s the most rewarding thing.”