Contest Winner for January

Contest Winner for January 2012 is Yang Chen from North York, Ont.

Opening myself up to the arts has changed my life. To be an “artsy” male teenager in modern society is probably the hardest “persona” to pull off genuinely and without fear. But after being inspired by a little TV show called Glee, this was certainly not the case.

As a little kid, I always enjoyed singing, drawing, dancing, and being artistic in every single way. But that was the time of innocence, when your classmates didn’t care how you looked, what you wore, or how you acted like. Cliques, derogatory teasing, and bullying just didn’t really exist in grade two. However, as I grew older, I became more and more closeted in the arts. Growing up in fear of being teased made me the last person who would dance, sing, or be “artsy.” The hurtful connotations halted my true passion and personality for a long while. I graduated middle school a certified nerd, as I was accepted to TOPS, a math and science program, at Marc Garneau CI.

After watching Glee for the first time in the winter of 2010 and attending a summer Shakespeare drama camp, I was motivated to become the person I had always been: theatrical, artsy, exuberant, and not afraid to show passion and enthusiasm. Both acting (Something I was never good at) and watching Glee inspired me to take charge of my life, to not be afraid of the people around you, and to be confident in yourself. Glee also instilled the power in me to sing again, and become a pop music geek. In middle school, I was always in choir, but once I got to high school, I stopped. Maybe it was the teasing; maybe it was the lack of passion; maybe it was because I was going through puberty and my voice sounded like a dying, honking cow. But Glee helped me get back into choir in the spring of 2011, and get me excited about singing once again. When I found out Show Choir Canada was doing a first-ever “Nationals” show choir competition, it was a dream come true, and I will always owe a deep sense of gratitude to them.

Many classmates wonder why I’m in TOPS and not at some arts school. I chuckle to myself every time I hear that, because I never re-discovered the artistic and creative side of me until the tenth grade. Today, everyone knows me as that “Show Choir” kid. I am my school’s show choir president and choreographer, something that I am really proud of because of how easily I can be expressively creative in my life. Every time I see my fellow show choir members getting that dance move right, or reaching that note, or just simply enjoying the singing and dancing is what gives me the energy and high to get through the day. I’ve finally reached a point in life where I’m being who I want to be, and who I was all along.

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