At the end of the summer, two students from the North Hall High School class of 2012 will find themselves heading westward to California.
For the next two years, they will travel the nation, even the world, with The Young Americans, a performing group that puts on workshops for the world’s youth.
Mary Catherine Scozzari and Reed Partrick, two recent graduates of North Hall, have been extended an invitation to join the group and are taking the leap.
“I’m really excited about being a part of it,” said Scozzari. “There’s not a lot of people that are willing to take this risk.” She and Partrick, who have been friends for “a long time,” have been on the stage since eighth grade and both have a rooted passion for the performing arts.
And both have known since freshman year that The Young Americans was the end goal after high school.
When they were freshman, during the 2007-08 school year, The Young Americans visited their school to put on a three-day workshop.
“I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do,” said Partrick. “This has been my dream since freshman year.” The two both hosted some of the group’s performers and after that workshop, both knew what they wanted to do.
“You get really close with (the performers) over those three days and they really impact your life,” said Scozzari.
Scozzari and Partrick aren’t the first Hall County graduates — or even the first North Hall graduates — to join Young Americans. Andrew Fields, who graduated from North Hall in 2009, has been part of the group. So has Rob Whelchel, who graduated from Gainesville High School the same year.
When the Young American group came back to town this year, Scozzari and Partrick auditioned for the group, and both are taking the leap.
They will stay in Corona, Calif., where the group is based out of, and spend the first year training for the shows. After that time, they will audition to go on three-month tours with the group.
From Germany to Japan to the United States, the group stays on the road for 12 weeks, putting on workshops in different cities.
Those workshops teach school-aged children performing skills and also allow them to be a part of the show, along side The Young Americans.
But, Scozzari says, the workshop and the group is more than just performance. It’s about finding yourself and being a part of something bigger.
The workshop aims at providing young people with “experiences and tools that yield individual personal growth and understanding.”
“It’s kind of a way to figure out what you want to do with your life while doing something you love and impacting people,” she said.
The 17-year-old says she wasn’t ready for a traditional college life yet and this opportunity provides her a constructive buffer to figure out what she wants to do.
She will take classes through North Central Michigan College, which has a partnership with The Young Americans. After the two years, she could transfer there as a junior.
“It’s a nice break before you have to figure out everything,” she said.
Partrick is planning on acquiring a two-year performance certificate from The Young Americans, geared to prepare students for a career in the performing arts.
“It’s been my dream for so long,” said Partrick. “This will just help us along the way.” He may try to major in music after his time with the group.
But the cross-country move comes with some nervousness.
Scozzari and Partrick have not done much traveling, nor have they spent much time away from their families.
So, to make this move fill them with some apprehension, but, they say, it’s mostly overcome with excitement about being a part of touring group.
“I think I’m just excited about finding out what I want to do with my future and having just an exciting way to get to know what I’m doing,” said Scozzari.
Having a good friend to share the adventure with helps too.
“I’m excited I get to go with (Partrick),” Scozzari said. “It’s a little piece of home I get to bring with me so it’s not as scary.”