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Spotlight graduate's advice to students: Take risks

Kate Piering as lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie at Wayzata High School

Kate Piering as lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie at Wayzata High School

Kate Piering’s Spotlight Education  journey began long before she became an official part of the program in high school. As she sat in the audience watching her older brother, Dan, perform in a Spotlight Showcase, she was hooked. “I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” she says. “It’s not surprising I got involved as a freshman in high school and was all in for four years.”

Kate Piering, Spotlight Showcase Triple Threat winner and Wayzata High School grad

In her senior year at Wayzata High School, Piering was chosen as a finalist in Spotlight’s Triple Threat Award program, which honors students who excel in dancing, singing and acting, in addition to community leadership. “I was playing my dream role, the lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and it was really magical,” she says. “The other finalists became some of my closest friends. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to watch so many people my own age doing what they love to do. It’s remarkable to connect over the love of one thing.”

Career goals

Now a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in elementary education and developmental psychology, Kate continues to perform and hone her talents. She takes weekly voice lessons and has performed in community-based shows while in college. “Spotlight  gave me the confidence to still keep performing and theater in my life without making it my career,” she says. “I still have opportunities to perform. It’s a wonderful career option but not the only option. Spotlight  helps you see you have options.”

Kate plans to pursue a master’s degree related to teaching and would particularly like it if she were able to combine her love for musical theater with teaching.

Kate Piering, Spotlight Triple Threat winner, and brother Dan in Times Square

Kate Piering and brother Dan in Times Square

Giving back

Kate and her brother, who is scheduled to appear in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child  when it returns to Broadway next year, continue to touch base with Spotlight alumni and to perform together in Spotlight  fundraisers. She remains close friends with the other Triple Threat finalists, relationships she says she values more as the years go by.

“Spotlight  does an incredible job. I would encourage high school students to take every opportunity the program offers, like the masterclasses with amazing artists. Take as many risks as you can. There’s no penalty for just going for it. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”

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