Senior Kaylee Barrett reflects on her experiences in Vocal Music as well as her plans for the future

BY JOURNALISM I STUDENT CARLY WITT, ’23

With her kind smile and a positive outlook on school, senior Kaylee Barrett is entering this school year with a thankful attitude and ready for a future full of new experiences, as she wraps up her Capstone, college applications, and her final high school musical. 

A conversation with Barrett reveals the musical, talented senior who is getting ready for her future outside of UAHS and what she will take with her that she learned here through four musicals and years of concerts, honors classes, sports, and football games. 

Q:    So, you are a senior this year, so like what are your main feelings as you head into your last year?

Kaylee Barrett

Now in her senior year, Kaylee Barrett played one of the lead roles in the UAHS 2019 musical Mamma Mia. Barrett said she’s enjoyed her experiences with the Vocal Music department. Image courtesy Kaylee Barrett

BARRETT: Well, obviously I’m..sad. And I’m scared. But um, mostly I’m kind of surprised that it actually came. Like, everybody says it goes by so fast. But you don’t believe it until it’s gone by and then you’re like oh my goodness! But I’m also excited because I get to, kind of step out of this world next year and you know, leave everything so, that’s nice.

Q:   What has been your favorite part of your four years at the high school, if you had a  stand out, big moment what would it be? 

BARRETT: Oh my goodness, stand out moment. Honestly, it would have to just be the football games. I think, they’re so fun. But also, like obviously the musicals. Um, sports are fun too. Just meeting people. You know, actually finally meeting everybody that is my age that lives in UA so that’s fun.

Q:    What is your favorite subject or part of school? 

BARRETT:     Um, I really like science. I took AP Bio, I mean, not AP Bio, honors bio. And, um, I should’ve taken AP Bio, but um, that was hard but I liked how hard it was if that makes sense. Honors Chem was so fun. I love Mr. [Philip] Lampe, he was my teacher. So, yeah.  

Q:    So you are like pretty very heavily involved with the vocal music department. So what have been your favorite things you have done including that department over the years? 

BARRETT: So, my favorite thing I’ve done is obviously be a part of the musicals. Right now, I’m working on my Capstone, which is teaming up with the vocal music department and I’m working on a kid uh, fundraiser for Sam’s Fans. So we’re collecting art supplies, so organizing that. Also, a really cool thing that the vocal music program is that it’s the same group of people like, you’re with all four years that you’re here. So, I guess it’s just getting really close with a tight-knit group of people that we keep the same teachers, we are all the same for four years so you really get to know people well, which is fun.

Q:    What are your feelings on doing this musical this year because it’s your last one?

BARRETT:  Oh gosh, I’m so sad. I’m not going into college for theatre, so it definitely hits harder for me this year because I don’t know if I’ll ever perform again, like that. Which is crazy to think about, because it’s been a part of my life for so long. Um, so definitely sad, but it also makes me excited, because I don’t know we’re the leaders and I get to, kind of with my classmates depict how much fun we’re gonna have, and obviously we’re gonna have fun so yeah.

Q:    What is your favorite part or favorite and least favorite parts of putting the musical together, the whole process, from start to finish?

BARRETT:  Honestly, I hate learning blocking. Like, so much. Because I hate not knowing where things are. Like, I wish the set was built already and then we started working, it’s almost like the anticipation to see how everything, you know, becomes what it is. My favorite part though, is…uh when everybody finally gets their costumes and we can see it as a whole. Also, I really love it when the pit comes in, because then it’s actually live and it’s real and that’s literally amazing.

Q:    So, what are you planning to do after high school? 

BARRETT:    Oh, interesting question. Okay, so um, my goal is to go into music business. So, I want to be on the production side of music. Um, so whether that’s working at record label to managing some sort of band, or putting on some sort of live event, that’s kind of the realm I’m going. Because I want to keep music in my life, but I don’t um, I don’t necessarily want to pursue performing as a career.

 Q: What is the biggest or the main thing that you’ve learned while doing the musicals? 

BARRETT: Oh, confidence. For sure. Um, still working on it, obviously, but um, as a freshman, I had no confidence that I’d even make the musical, as a sophomore I was scared I wasn’t gonna make the musical. So, just definitely working up, how I feel about myself as well as my abilities. Like, I would tell you freshmen year I could not dance. I still would tell you I can’t dance. But I’ve gotten better and it’s not as obvious that I can’t dance, you know what I mean? 

Q: So those things that you have learned during the musicals, how will they like stay with you during your whole career? 

BARRETT: Well, another thing is obviously to be gracious for what you’ve gotten. And, um, be kind to everyone around you. And supporting everybody because being in, you know, music is very vulnerable for a lot of people, so just respecting them, so in the future obviously like, respect the choices people make because there’s obviously a reason behind them, um being kind to everybody and, just being yourself because if you’re not like honestly, I don’t really understand-you know what I’m saying! So yeah, so just be yourself.

Q: What advice do you have for freshmen who aren’t sure how to get involved at the high school? 

BARRETT: Go to clubs, um attend sporting events, if you know an upperclassman, talk to them. If you don’t know an upperclassman, find someone to talk to. There are so many people I know, the senior year, that would love to incorporate anyone that wants to help them with anything. But, definitely do clubs because um, you’ll get a fun group of people, just extracurriculars, 100 percent do them, yeah.

Q: What is your life like outside of school, are you in any clubs or do any other sports? 

BARRETT: Oh, interesting question. OK, okay so, in the fall, well I used to play soccer, I don’t play soccer anymore so, in the fall I am the student director for the Jones Fall Production. So, um, starting the first week of school, I’ve been at Jones from 3:30-5:30 to 6-ish, um and that ends in three weeks from now, so that pretty much takes up my whole fall chunk. As well as applying for colleges, that’s a big part of my life right now, in the winter I am in the musical um and I try to do some lacrosse but a lot of times it doesn’t end up working out. And then in the spring I play lacrosse for the high school.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your senior year? 

BARRETT: Oh man, like the end of senior year. I’m not like hoping that it goes by fast, by any means, but like when all the stress of college is off of me, when our teachers are kind of like you know what you’re seniors you’ve learned, like let’s just relax, you know when I have time to actually just like have fun, that’s what I’m excited for.

Q: What do you think you will take away from your entire high school experience as you head into your future? 

BARRETT: Oh well, I would say to never give up. Because there are so many different examples of times that I have not done what I wanted to do or not done as well as I wanted to do and instead of giving up, I kept trying and trying and trying and eventually, even though it may not seem like it now, like it’ll work out in the end so, definitely don’t give up also be kind to everybody because that, that’ll get you anywhere.

Q: Then, what do you think you will miss the most about high school after graduating? 

BARRETT: Aw, my teachers. Like making a connection with my teachers. Oh, and my friends because I think what I always think about when um, I think about leaving is like, I’m almost 18 now so when I leave, it’s gonna be like, 18 years of my life just like gone. You know what I’m saying like, everything that I’ve ever known I’m leaving, which like is exciting but definitely nerve-wracking at the same time.