Andy Ulloa is a man of many talents. The Huntington High School junior is involved in numerous activities outside of class with one of the most exciting being his work as student-director of the J. Taylor Finley Middle drama club’s musical production of Mulan.
This marks the teenager’s second year of helping with the Finley play. He’s worked closely in recent years with high school music teacher Victoria Garbarino, who leads the choral activities program. She got him involved with the Finley drama club, with which she serves as music director.
“Last year, Ms. Garbarino told me that they needed help with the stage crew and asked if I could volunteer my time because I’m the high school stage crew president,” Mr. Ulloa explained. “It was so much fun working with the kids and teaching them. I decided to help out this year as student-director.”
Huntington junior Andy Ulloa.
Mr. Ulloa was captain of the high school stage crew as a freshman and the club president the past two years. He sings with the chamber choir, volunteers with the Grandfriends club and Young Leaders youth leadership development organization and holds down membership in the Art Honor Society. He’s also excelling in Advanced Photography, shooting some stunning images.
The junior had such a good experience last year with the Finley drama club and faculty advisor Gina Marie Trigian-Molvaut that he decided a return engagement was in order.
“Mrs. Molvaut has welcomed me with open arms and is teaching me the ropes of directing and staging a scene,” Mr. Ulloa said. “I’ve been going to Finley for rehearsals every Monday and Wednesday since last October. I start each of the rehearsals by doing some warm-up vocals and acting games and from there I take a couple of kids to work on lines and building their character in the show. At the end of the rehearsal we run the scene on stage. On other days I work with the stage crew kids and advisors to teach them about the lighting board and spotlight and paint sets with them.”
Mr. Ulloa has developed strong relationships with Ms. Garbarino and high school drama club advisor Michael Schwendemann. He is considering majoring in technical theater and minoring in stage management in college.
“I have worked with both of them very closely and both have provided me with life lessons and important knowledge,” Mr. Ulloa said. “I have also worked with Ms. Garbarino during the summer to build scenery and do lighting for the summer arts program.”
“Andy is a student that has the work ethic of an adult,” Ms. Garbarino said. “I have never met a student with such professionalism. He is sure to be successful in the professional theatre world.”
The teenager has also collaborated with Eric Reynolds, the district’s director of fine and performing arts. “He has put a lot of trust in me by letting me run events on my own and being there when I need something,” Mr. Ulloa said.
As his third year of high school marches on, Mr. Ulloa is having the time of his life. “It’s been an amazing experience and one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world,” he said.