Despite Critical Budget Cuts, Nevarez Allows her Students to Shine
Front Row: Justin Chao, Kristen Nevarez, Collin Slavey.
Second Row: Daniella Wheelock, Allyson Staples, Caitlynn Leary, Hannah Bartholomaus, Chloe Schneider, Ariana, Kelly Myers, Evan Loefstedt, Rachel Hacher, Alex Howard, Arash Fakhrabadi.
Third Row: Anisa Nizam, Abby Broekema, Cintia Baltazar, Arlene Iruguin, Adam Goodwin, Rachel Peterson, Clar Chapman, David Bielik, Melissa Karpecki, Limora Lazrus, Daniel Jung.
Fourth Row: Emily Sherer, Natalie Lam, Clara Brown, Alex Martins-Boyd, Owen Stone, Matt Guerin, Katie Haupt, Ivan Ng, Connor Bush, Madeline Tondi, Jake Morrison, Sanket Padmanabhan, Stephen Green, Shannon Clarke, Kelly Martin, Mylene Quijano, Erika Trinh.
The understanding of life through vicarious, cathartic theatrical experience is what theater means to me; and what I hope my students get a chance to experience for themselves,” explained Kristen Ace Nevarez, Westview High School Theatre Program Director.
A resident of Rancho Peñasquitos since she was a child, Nevarez was a member of the Westview Theatre Company during all four years of her high school career as well as president of the drama club.
When Westview High School’s budget cuts got in the way of their drama program continuing, Nevarez made an entrance just in the nick of time. She recalls, “I got a phone call from my old drama teacher, the now-retired Doug Smith, asking how I’d feel about coming back to my alma mater. Budget cuts prevented hiring a replacement teacher and Principal Kastner had come up with a creative option to keep the 100+ student club alive as an after-school program.”
Nevarez, who was just beginning a full upper-division load at San Diego State, was surely hesitant to take on the offer. It was her understanding of the program that led to her decision to accept the position. “I knew I would not be who I was without that program, and there was nothing more important to me than bringing those same opportunities to Westview’s current students.”
Today the Westview Theatre Company is not only present, but flourishing. A winter production has been introduced in addition to the usual fall play. The students also get a chance to showcase talents individually in what Nevarez calls, “Bound for Broadway.”
While Westview provides some funding and they also provide the performing arts theater venue, all of the production costs are funded directly by the club and parents.
Nevarez and the Company have found a way to raise the necessary funds without charging any students a production tuition. Through ticket sales, fundraisers and a little creativity, the staff and students are able to cover these costs. “I’m immeasurably impressed with their ingenuity and resourcefulness as they continue to find props, costumes and equipment through donations, rummage sales, rented or other “magic”– but I know that if they could take all that energy and focus it into their acting, designs, and directing, the growth in production value would be exponential.”
The company’s next production, Crimes of the Heart will be playing December 15, 16, and 17 at Westview High School.[divider]
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Name: Kristen Ace Nevarez
Residence: Rancho Peñasquitos
Occupation: Theatre Program Director (Westview); Business Manager (Gore & Associates)
Group Name: Westview Theatre Company
Awards Westview Theatre Company won during our last season:
Fall Play: Out of the Frying Pan National Youth Arts Award: Best Lead Actor (Connor Bush), Best Lead Actress (Katherine Heflin), Outstanding Direction (Kristen Ace Nevarez and Chris Wollman). Spring Musical: Thoroughly Modern Millie National Youth Arts Award: Best Ensemble (Entire Cast), Best Featured Actress (Sarah Pence), Best Supporting Actress (Kirsten Miller and Megan Neubauer) Fullerton College High School Theatre Festival
Finalist – Classical Monologue, Humorous (Sanket Padmanabhan) Old Globe Honors Program
First Place (Musical Theatre) – Megan Neubauer Second Place (Musical Theatre) – Sarah Pence Second Place (Spoken Word) – Chloe Schneider
All Three Westview students who auditioned were finalists, we were the only school to have all our students do so and only one other school (Coronado School of the Arts) had as many semi-finalists as we did.
Kristen Ace Nevarez 2010-2011:
National Youth Arts Award: Outstanding Direction (Kristen Ace Nevarez and Chris Wollman) San Diego Press Club: Best Humor Column (First Place, 2010), Best Non-Daily Newspaper Column (First Place, 2010), 7 2 Off Suit at The Daily Aztec
Most Valuable Writer – The Daily Aztec, Features Section / Fall Semester AOL & Patch.com’s “Thirty Under 30” San Diego Leaders 2011[/tab] [/su_tabs]