Teen Project Shows Impact Of The Arts

Nicole Enos

Castle High senior project producer Nicole Enos. Photo by Leah Friel,

Castle High School student Nicole Enos hatched a senior project that people could enjoy and also respond to.

A veteran of eight years in CPAC (Castle Performing Arts Center), Enos set out to make people aware of the impact of performing arts on students and point out how precarious the funding for it can be.

“I hope to keep spreading the word,” she said, as she plans her own college studies in musical engineering and theater. “Performing arts helps with academics, too. When I was in Brigadoon, for example, it helped me manage my time as I researched the cultures.”

Enos assembled a showcase of her school’s productions, recruiting the school chorus as well as the casts from Anything Goes and Zombie Prom. “Nobody said no, so that was a load off my back,” she said. They also knew their routines already, which helped even more.

The Enos troupe entertained at such diverse venues as Pohai Nani and the Hawaii State Capitol, during the Legislature’s annual Education Week in March. “The crowds seemed to enjoy watching young students and children experience (their creative powers),” she recalled.

Enos, 17, likes it all – dancing, acting and singing – but she also enjoyed experiencing it from the director’s perspective on her latest mission. Her drama teacher Karen Meyer calls her “one of the special ones.”

“Nicole is a well-rounded, gifted performer, and she also is our main sound engineer. Even in our last show, she did the sound, starred in it and also mentored others. And she’s president of our Thespian troupe.”

Some good news came this year for the cause, as the powers that be reinstated funding for CPAC and other public school learning centers.

“As of this second,” Meyer said last week, “we’re good for next year. After being totally cut from last year’s budget, a Board of Education member saw us all talking on Dan Boylan’s PBS Insights show and heard the data: Performing arts students have higher grade-point averages and test scores, and higher graduating rates. So they put the money back in.”

Castle High also learned that not only is it getting a new all-weather track and artificial turf, Ron Bright Theatre is slated for new lighting and sound systems.

“It’s finally getting what it needs after 30 years!” said Enos, who also recalled circulating petitions as a freshman when budget cuts were threatened.

“It hurt me inside because we wouldn’t be able to perform.”