The following is a compilation of interviews done by our Robin’s Nest article writing team about the various groups that performed at Lubbock High School’s magnet open house in December. These interviews show the variety of fine arts and activities offered in many high schools as well as the benefits from participating in these activities.

Ballet Folklorico

For Zaylie Quinones, a senior who has participated in her fine art for the past four years, Ballet Folklorico is something that has provided much more than just the opportunity to dance. It is through Ballet Folklorico that she can emerge herself in her beautiful personal culture.  There are numerous benefits found in participating in Ballet Folklorico, and for Zaylie, one benefit is learning more about her Hispanic culture and expressing that culture through dance. Ballet Folklorico has given Zaylie “knowledge of different regions in Mexico” and helped her “to understand more about [her] background and the importance behind it.” She enjoys that dancers get to showcase characteristics of the culture through the dresses, accessories, and music that goes along with the dancing. Her favorite part overall however, is being able to dance in front of crowds and the opportunity to make friends with other dancers who “have similar backgrounds.”

Band

Nathaniel has been in band for seven years and was a leader in the marching band at Lubbock High. In Nathaniel’s perspective, band allows students to create lasting friendships and teaches the importance of determination and resilience. 

For Nathaniel, there is no better way to make friends and meet new people than marching band. Not only are you around people that share the same interests as you, you get to see them every day. Nathaniel reflected on all four years of high school marching band as his most cherished experiences. On top of having fun and making friends and memories, you are all working together to put on the best performance. Pushing forward with everyone builds a strong sense of comradery. “You aren’t alone in toughing out the conditions,” he says. 

The directors care about the students as people, not just band members. They’re always willing to lend a helping hand and strive to make every day fun. There is always something happening, and something sure to make you laugh. Nathaniel credits the relaxed atmosphere and relationships with the directors for his love for band.

For anyone who is considering joining band, Nathaniel would strongly recommend that they try it out. “You get to play great music, dance in the stands at football games, and make some of the best friends you will ever have,” Nathaniel says. “It makes the school day more enjoyable, and teaches you the importance of fine arts to gaining a well rounded education.”

Choir

The following is an adjusted interview with Rylee Bartlett, a current sophomore at LHS participating in choir.

How long have you been involved in choir?

I have been in choir since 7th grade at Hutch, so 4 years! I chose to take choir because singing was my way of expressing myself, and I stayed in it because I still enjoy getting to sing and cheer people up by just using my voice.

What are the benefits of participating in choir at school?

The benefits of participating in choir at school are school field trips, making friends that feel like family, and being [a part] of something that is bigger than yourself. Most of the music we learn in choir are UIL pieces, so songs for competition are traditional and in different languages like Latin. However, at the end of the year we have a pop song concert! We have 5 ensembles at Lubbock High! In order of levels it is: Madrigals, Chorale, Bella Voce, Men’s Choir, and Cantare.

How has choir influenced your life?

Choir has influenced my life by allowing me to [bring] joy to others through doing something I love, singing! Choir has also brought a sense of stability in my life because music is always around and it never leaves you. My favorite thing about choir is the friends that I am able to make with how much time I spend with them!

Dance

Ruby Barenberg is a junior at Lubbock High School who has participated in dance for three years now. She hadn’t been involved in dance before taking it at Lubbock High, but upon giving it a chance, found it to be really enjoyable. She thinks one of the key benefits of this particular fine art is that it teaches “how to express yourself in new ways.” She goes on to describe that dance “shows you how you can create something meaningful and beautiful with movement.” She explains that dance can be great for one’s mental and physical health, noting that it is a great form of exercise. To Ruby, dance can be a great source of stress relief because “getting the chance to move around and dance during the day” has often helped her to feel less anxious. Dance has also enabled her to develop her creativity and has changed her ideas of how she can express herself in imaginative ways. Her favorite part of participating in her fine art has ultimately been the chance to create her own choreography, and she has especially loved the aspect of performing with her fellow peers.

Mariachi

The following is an adjusted transcript of an interview with Kylee Puga, an eleventh grader who is participating in Lubbock High’s mariachi program for the third year in a row.

What would you say the benefits of mariachi are?
In mariachi you are able to [learn about a] culture with a group of people who truly care about the subject. In addition to learning how to perform this genre of music, you encounter a sense of belonging [with the other] people [in] the group. You’re given an opportunity to belong to a team that celebrates the process of struggle.

How has mariachi influenced your life?

This fine art gave me a way to express my creativity while being able to grow in an atmosphere that is passionate about the individual self. Not only has it taught me how to be confident of who I am, but it’s given me a community to call family.

Orchestra

The following is an adjusted transcript of an interview with Jake Musa, a senior in Lubbock High’s orchestra program.

How long have you been in Orchestra?

I’ve been [participating in] orchestra for about seven years now.

What would you say the benefits of Orchestra are?
The community is like family to me, and because of that I’ve learned a lot about how music is used to express emotions and even convey a story. It has also been a very unique experience being immersed in a different culture through music.

How has Orchestra influenced your life?

Orchestra has become an outlet for me to express my own emotions and creativity, and it’s also given me a special opportunity to learn how to play a classical instrument. It has  become a fun space for me to participate in an activity with my friends.

Robotics

The following is an adjusted transcript of an interview with Derek Zhou, a senior at Lubbock High School who is currently in his 4th year of robotics.

What are the benefits of participating in robotics at school?

Robotics is a very important program for the STEM field, as it is one of the best application-based engineering extracurriculars out there. In the lab we spend our time prototyping and discussing ideas for the robot, both actual good ideas or ideas that are never supposed to work (but we try them anyway.) It sets up an environment for any type of person to shine: engineers, creatives, business-oriented people, public speaking, finance – FIRST robotics is such a complex program that there really is a space for every type of thinker to stand out.

How has participating in robotics influenced your life?

Robotics has influenced my life not only by sucking up all my free time, but also [by] giving me a social outlet that I can work with friends on something collaborative, even if we do get a bit antsy sometimes. It’s been a driving factor in my enjoyment of school, with many days in robotics just being hangout design days, or some being more rigorous work days to get [our] minds off the schoolwork we procrastinate on.

ROTC

The following is the adjusted transcript of an interview with junior Jon Plummer, a participant in Lubbock High’s NJROTC program since his freshman year.

What is ROTC?

NJROTC is a military program where you work on a team to win tournaments. It teaches discipline and a lot about military structure. I really like all the volunteer stuff. Almost every weekend, you can [do] something [to help out the community], and you get rewarded for what you put into the program.

What are NJROTC tournaments like?

[As far as I know,] there are four different types of  NJROTC classes you can do [outside of] the base class. There’s Armed, [where] you do tricks with guns. There’s unarmed where you make beats [by slapping your thighs.]. There’s PT, which is Physical Training. There’s marksmanship, where you shoot airsoft rifles and see who’s more accurate. That one’s really fun. And then there’s Academic, which I’m in now. You [come] to meetings and get tested on the most random knowledge I’ve ever seen.

What are some benefits of participating in NJROTC?

If you stick to [NJROTC] for three years, you join the military [at a much higher rank.] And join[ing] teams means you can [improve as you compete. For example, if] you’re struggling in academics, and you join the Academic team, you’re going to get better at studying and learning. It’s also made me think about college differently. I’ve thought about joining one of the military academies, because that’s a really good education.

Theatre

The following is an interview with McKenna Frandsen, a junior at LHS who participates in the theatre program.

How long have you been participating in theatre?

I’ve been in theatre for a year!

What are the benefits of participating in theatre?

I think some of the benefits of being in theatre are learning to communicate with others effectively in a way that will help you achieve a common goal, and learning to work with a lot of different people! It also has helped me to understand different walks of life from character research that I’ve done, and that really helps to broaden your perspective.

How has theatre influenced your life?

Theatre has greatly influenced my life in ways that I didn’t expect. It’s helped me to learn how to be [a part] of a big creative process, and to understand human nature a little better. One big thing I’ve learned from theatre is to really observe the people around you and see what you can learn from them, and that’s been a huge blessing in my life.

Contributors to this article:

Ruby is a current junior at Lubbock High School where, outside of volunteering for Robin’s Nest Tutoring, she participates in UIL competitions. She also runs a book blog.

Nathaniel is a senior at Lubbock High School. In addition to tutoring, he is an active member in the band, involved in UIL competitions, and is a Research Assistant at both the Texas Tech Peace, War & Social Conflict Lab, and the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

Savannah is currently a senior at Lubbock High School. Aside from Robin’s Nest, she also enjoys participating in UIL Ready Writing, NHS, and Model UN.

Helen is currently a junior at Lubbock High School. She is involved in many extracurriculars in addition to volunteer work, including Model UN, Lubbock High’s GSA, and Robotics.

Derek is a senior at Lubbock High school. He enjoys participating in First Robotics, Science Bowl, and Cyberpatriot.

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