By Hailey Perrin

Senior Asa Esparza leads in the arts department as an actress, student director and choir section leader 

Through her multiple leadership roles, Esparza has learned how to effectively bring people together

Many students see the productions put on by the theater department, but what most students don’t see is the effort it takes to put on these shows. Senior Asa Esparza has played multiple lead roles in theater productions, in addition to student directing, and is a leader in the arts department.

In this year’s fall musical, Guys and Dolls, Esparza played the lead female role, Sister Sarah Brown. She also student directed for one of the fall repertory theater shows, Steel Magnolias, while playing a character in the show. Esparza describes how she balanced leadership and acting.

“Having to direct [while learning lines] was very difficult, but it was definitely the people that I was working with that made it a lot easier because they gave me a lot of ideas,” Esparza said. “We were able to really work together so even though I was technically leading them, I felt like we really helped each other out. It was like a group effort.”

Junior Riley Martin played the same character in the show as Esparza and worked closely with her during rehearsals. Martin describes Esparza’s strengths as a leader and what she did to help unite the cast. 

“She was really good at making sure we knew our characters, but also that we had the interpersonal dynamics on and off stage so that onstage we looked like we’d known each other for years and could be old ladies who grew up in the same town,” Martin said. “I felt a lot closer to my cast members because of her directing.”

In addition to student directing at the school, Esparza has helped direct multiple productions at Monticello Trails Middle School over the past four years. This leadership experience is special to her.

“I was in all three middle school shows when I went to MTMS and I loved it so much,” Esparza said. “I came back my freshman year and helped with student directing the play and then COVID hit so I skipped a year, but then I came back and I fell in love with it even more. It’s just so nice to have such energetic kids and help inspire them to lead and love theater because middle school was really when I fell in love with theater and choir. So if I can help push them in that direction in any way maybe it can give them the confidence boost it gave me.”

Esparza’s leadership is not reserved to just the theater department, though. She is also a leader in choir as soprano section leader.

“Most of [being a section leader] is just making sure that everyone knows their part and if they don’t know their part how can I help them with that,” Esparza said. “Because even though I’m a leader, there are some times when I’m like, “okay, I don’t know how to do this, but I can help you find someone that can help you.””

According to choir teacher Jessie Reimer, Esparza is someone she looks to as a leader because of her technique and generally helpful attitude.

“The last two years she’s been in multiple choirs including our top group,” Reimer said. “She is someone that I look towards as section leader. In fact, she is the soprano section leader this year in choir. She’s a role model student as far as just her presence in rehearsal and her rehearsal technique. [She’s just] helpful to all of those around her.”

With all of the leadership Esparza does, it can be overwhelming at times. She advises leaders to step back and take time for themselves if they need to.

“There’s definitely times when I have to step out, but I like being busy,” Esparza said. “Sometimes it can be a little much, but [being a leader includes] just knowing when to ask for help or knowing when to put things down and take time for yourself instead of trying to do everything all at once.”

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