Over 40 people auditioned for the Wellesley High School Improv Troupe this year. What makes this club so attractive to students? The answer lies not only in the material itself, but also in the bonds formed, and the lessons learned during performances.
To many, the Improv Troupe’s small size creates an intimate bond between members. Co-President Jared Goldman ’22 explained that trust is essential when practicing improv in front of the troupe, and the need to establish this level of shared vulnerability creates great friendships.
“Improv is definitely a super close-knit community. You can be goofy and ridiculous. You can succeed and fail in front of these kids, and it’s very easy to become great friends with them,” said Goldman.
The Improv Troupe also brings people from all different backgrounds together. Goldman described how the group embraced a diverse range of people, and how despite their different circumstances, participants are brought together by their shared passion for improv.
“The diversity of people in the Improv Troupe is such a wide spectrum personality-wise that you can get along with anybody. We have kids that have to leave early to go to sports practices or go to their jobs. Kids that participate in such different activities outside of school, and if you can become friends with any of them, you can get along with anybody,” said Goldman.
Members of the troupe have found many additional benefits of doing improv, one being improving their public speaking skills. Goldman admitted that many members of the troupe have been expressly asked to give speeches to other clubs or in other classes, and credited it to their time in the Improv Troupe.
“Speaking in front of classes is like no problem. Everyone will freak out about presentations and whatnot, and I’m like ‘This is something I can actually do.’” said Co-President Caroline Mack ’22.
Additionally, the troupe fosters social skills that prepare students for college interviews and the college experience. Co-President Lucy Calico ‘22 explained that the unexpected nature of improv helps her feel prepared for anything she might encounter in college interviews, or when meeting new people.
For the Improv Troupe members, performing on stage is just one of the many benefits of the club. From building close relationships with a diverse group of students to building skills that help them both within Wellesley High School and the world beyond, Improv Troupe has much to offer.
“You can research as much as you want for college interviews, but you can’t know exactly what they’re going to ask you. It’s just that element of surprise that you get used to. The Improve Troupe is good practice,” said Calico.
The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, many people found unique ways to honor those who have suffered from breast cancer. Girls Volleyball in particular has a special way of raising awareness: their annual “Dig Pink” game and fundraiser.
Dig Pink is a volleyball event for athletes, schools, and communities created by The Side-Out foundation in 2008. Around 9,000 Dig Pink events are planned every year in the United States to help fund metastatic breast cancer research and treatments. In the last ten years, Dig Pink has helped raise over fifteen million dollars.
Dig Pink began in Wellesley through middle school volleyball coach Ms. Sally Kellog. After Kellog’s own diagnosis with breast cancer, she started the Dig Pink tradition at the middle school, and it later ascended to the high school.
Kellog picked “The Ellie Fund“, based in Needham, as the charity of her choice for Wellesley’s Dig Pink donations. Their mission includes providing support services for patients with breast cancer to relieve them of simple stresses in their daily lives in order to let them focus on family time and recovery.
For the Girls Volleyball team, Dig Pink started with planning the fundraiser. Volleyball captains Isabelle Gardner ’22, Pati Cerda ’22, and Emily Harrington ’22 designed shirts for Dig Pink and the entire team contributed in bringing in different things to sell.
For some, helping out was baking goods for the event. For others, it was contributing in a more unique way. Naz Ozkaya ’22, for example, donated bracelets from her mother’s jewelry brand to sell at the fundraiser.
The week before their Dig Pink game, the girls set up tables during lunch periods to sell their Dig Pink products. The fundraiser brought in almost one thousand dollars.
On October 15, the team held their Dig Pink game against Notre Dame Academy at home in Wellesley. Everyone wore pink shirts and bracelets in support of breast cancer awareness and the game ended in a win.
“The Dig Pink game was truly a great experience to feel like a part of something bigger than just our team. There was just so much joy on everyone’s faces, and it felt great to see everyone’s support for our team. It was heartwarming to see all kinds of people in the crowd wearing the pink shirts and bracelets that made donating to The Ellie Fund possible,” said varsity player Maiwenn Kamdje ’24.
The Dig Pink tradition is revered by the girls as a passionate and heartwarming yearly game and fundraiser.
“People are willing to come together to help those in need. Being a part of the experience also gave us passion because we had the ability to help so many people and it truly made the whole experience personal,” said captain Gardner.