Every young person in this world must have a dream -- a dream that will give a specific purpose to one's being here on Earth. A dream that will determine what one will do for the rest of his or her life. My dream started one lazy Saturday afternoon during the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I was idling around aimlessly, not doing much, when my mother approached me with an article clipped out of the latest Oglethorpe Echo. It stated that auditions for the summer musical “The Boyfriend” would be held soon.

"You ought to give it a try, Honey," my mother commented. "It would certainly be fun to be cast in a play."

"Auditions?" I thought out loud. "I've never auditioned for anything before."

I wrestled with the idea for a few more days, and finally came to the conclusion that I would do it. After all, I enjoyed participating in the OCHS Variety Show the spring before, and found that I loved being on stage. When the time to audition came, I was cast as Tony, one of the lead roles in the play, and I loved it. Being able to express my energy in a creative way had hooked me.

Little did I  know that this decision would possibly affect me for the rest of my life. Since “The Boyfriend” I have been in a number of one-act plays, region literary competitions, and I was even nominated for Governor's Honors Program in theatre. These accomplishments all started with Arts!Oglethorpe. The reason they did is because Arts!Oglethorpe is a gateway into an even bigger, more fantastic world in theatre. Arts! brings to life things never thought possible; it provides inspiration. This is especially important in a teenager's life and crucial to any young Oglethorpian who aspires to be involved in theatre. To all the young Oglethorpians who have wondered about such things: there is much more to the world than just cows, hay fields and football! Living in our small community, though wholesome, can sometimes have a way of limiting one's view of how big this world is and how free anyone is to travel about and experience it. Arts! teaches us just that; it enlightens us. Being an actor, dancer, singer or painter doesn't mean you’re weird or gay. What is means is that you are not afraid to try something new.

Again, Arts!Oglethorpe is a gateway. I know because I've gotten to experience things in the field of theatre that a lot of people have never been able to do. I have been to Broadway, been in competitions, and been able to talk with other actors of my age. Right now, I even have a job at the UGA Performing Arts Center. At UGA I have been able to work backstage with some of the top performers in the nation and have been able to chat with Julliard graduates.  All the while, though, I remember and will continue to remember where I came from -- a century old, dusty, battered, two-story schoolhouse in Crawford, GA. The place which gave life to me by inspiring my dream of becoming a professional actor someday --- Arts!Oglethorpe.

Will Goodwin
2003 Essay Winner