Reavis senior medaling around
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent January 24, 2014 2:02PM
Sara Witasik played Amber Von Tussle in Reavis High School’s fall production of the musical “Hairspray.” | Supplied photo by Visual Image Photography
Updated: February 28, 2014 6:12AM
If Sara Witasik’s story sounds like a broken record, it’s because it is.
She broke a record at Reavis High School in Burbank by earning a whopping four Illinois High School Association state championship medals in her first three years in high school.
“As a school, we went 25 years without winning one individual or team state championship,” said Tom Witting, director of student activities and fine arts at Reavis.
That long dry spell finally ended with a contest play championship in 2007. Witasik’s passion for drama, so to speak, has kept the medals coming.
As a member of the setup crew for “These Shining Lives” — which Reavis performed to win the contest play state championship in 2011 — she got her first win.
In 2012 and last year, she and fellow Reavis student Gabriella Herrera won journalism state championships for yearbook theme development.
Finally, Witasik last year was a cast member for the state champs in group interpretation, who performed “The Fault In Our Stars.”
The stage is nothing new to Witasik, 17 and now a senior. She has been cast in 10 of the last 13 productions by Reavis.
This past fall, she played Amber Von Tussle in “Hairspray.” Before that, she played Wendy in the spring production of “Peter Pan.”
“I love performance in every form,” said Witasik, who plans to major in theater in college and pursue it as a career.
“All of the productions are favorites because it is what I want to go into,” said Witasik, who became interested in performing when she was in seventh grade.
Once she got to Reavis, she said, “I did everything I could to be involved. I really think it is an experience you can’t get anywhere else. I got to experience so many people, from being the Cat in the Hat in my first role to playing an old lady or Wendy in ‘Peter Pan.’ It is so cool to experience so many different things.”
Most of her extracurricular activities are rooted in the performing arts. She’s co-president of the drama club and was captain of the speech team as a junior. She’s a member of the International Thespian Society, Audio Theatre, CRAST (Company of Reavis Actors and State Technicians), Bluenotes, a choir, and marching band, for which she plays the tuba.
Other activities include working on the school newspaper, the Blueprint. As a junior, she was the paper’s senior editor, but her course load this year didn’t give her the time to do it again. She also is a member of the new Inspire Club.
Next school year, Witasik, the daughter of Jim and Nita Witasik, of Burbank, would like to pursue musical theater at Columbia College in Chicago or any of three New York theater schools: the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, or the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
“Our drama club visited New York over the summer and that was really cool. We got to experience Broadway shows, NBC Studios, tour the theaters and go backstage at the New Amsterdam Theatre,” she said. “It was a totally different experience than what we’re used to.”
Her mentors are her directors and coaches at Reavis “who have directed and helped me so much and brought out my interest in theater even more. They’ve made me who I am,” said Witasik, giving special thanks to Dennis Anastasopoulos, her director in musicals, spring shows, group interpretation and speech.
She said her time at Reavis has shaped her.
“I really love Reavis. It is a great school and I feel so lucky to have had all the opportunities I’ve had. It has been awesome and I can’t imagine doing the things I’ve done at any other school,” she said.
Her schedule is hectic, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Having so many different things to focus on helps me know that I have to keep it together,” she said. “I have to know my music for band, my lines for a show and material for a test. Knowing there’s so much to do, I just take it a piece at a time and put it together.”