Applewild Students Continue Performing Arts Success
Applewild and Cushing Academy have a strong partnership. Walk through the halls of either school and you'll find children of Cushing faculty members attending Applewild School and vice-versa. Scan the playing fields or the hockey rink at Cushing, and you'll find Applewild alumni excelling in almost every sport. Attend a concert and you'll hear students, who began singing and playing their instrument under Applewild's Erin Schlesinger and Frank Bonanno, continuing their craft in Cushing's Music Department. A reflection of the incredible foundation Applewild students receive in public speaking, presentation literacy, and the performing arts, many alumni can be found center-stage on Cushing's Cowell Chapel as confident, dynamic thespians.
Four of Applewild's alumni were featured during Cushing's Winter Musical, Godspell. Andrew MacDonald ('13), Madison Lessard and Lily Tammik (both '14) with Brianna Coppinger ('15) all credit their foundation in the arts and interest in theater to Applewild School.
The audience for each performance was peppered with returning Applewild/Cushing alumni. "What really amazes me," says Jen Raterman, parent of an Applewild '12 and Cushing '16 alumnus, "is these kids continue to come back and support one-another performance after performance." Her son, Christian Bradley, proves it as he took a five hour trip from Drew University where he is a freshman back to Cushing Academy to watch his former schoolmates receive cheers in Godspell. No stranger to the stage himself, Christian built his theater resume at Cushing Academy after receiving a strong foundation at Applewild. His credits at Cushing include The Crucible, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Now attending college in New Jersey, Christian's weekends are filled with trips to NYC theater shows and exploring course work in theater, directing, and learning to become a playwright. Building upon his theater success at Cushing Academy, Bradley was a 2017 recipient of the Robert Fisher Oxnam/Ensemble Studio Theatre Award in Playwriting from Drew University.
Applewild's Associate Director of Admission, Kyle Sminkey, chimed in, "When we meet prospective families, often they will ask 'what do Applewild students do after they graduate?"' and I can point to alumni like Madison, Christian, Lily, Brianna, and Andrew and their successes after Applewild."
But Applewild's Head of School, Chrirstie Stover, may have summed up the connection best in her tweet after the show "Moved to tears by AMAZING @ApplewildSchool alumni in Godspell @CushingAcademy. #applewildpride #formative.individualized.innovative."