CLASS OF 2020: Featuring Amanda Sanchez. Creative! Committed! Courageous!

Student Interviews on the Impact of the Arts

The Burbank Arts for All Foundation is proud to highlight students in the CLASS OF 2020 who have been part of the robust arts community in Burbank Unified School District classrooms. We hope you enjoy reading about their experiences and getting to know them as we celebrate an important milestone in their lives: high school graduation.

Today, we present to you Amanda Sanchez, who was part of the John Burroughs High School (JBHS) Dramatic Arts Program and Instrumental Music Association (IMA). This fall, Amanda will be attending the University of Southern California as part of the Music Industry Program in their Thornton School of Music, and possibly pursuing a double major in Theatre Stage Management. After her graduation, she would like to work as an Artist Manager or Booking Agent. Congratulations Amanda!

As cliché as it is, you really can do anything you can imagine, as long as you stay dedicated, driven, and aren’t afraid to ask. If I’ve learned anything from being a performer, it’s that being scared and nervous means that you care. Power through your fear – use it!” 

Amanda pictured above. Photo courtesy of Amanda Sanchez.

My name is Amanda Sanchez, and I am eighteen years old. I am proud to have been a part of the John Burroughs High School (JBHS) Dramatic Arts Program and Instrumental Music Association (IMA). 

What was your first experience with the arts while in the Burbank Unified Schools? Coming from a small private school, I was deciding whether or not to make the switch to public school. While touring Luther, the only room I cared about looking at was the band room. As soon as we walked in, I knew that was where I needed to be. So I joined the Luther band as a clarinetist and have been playing ever since!  

What art experience in the schools are you most proud of and how did it impact you? My proudest accomplishment – not just from the arts programs but from my time at Burroughs overall – is the increased success of the IMA’s Swing Night! I’ve always admired the JBHS Jazz Band for their talent and dedication but felt they were incredibly underappreciated. Four years ago, I made it my mission to assure that they got the recognition they deserved. I helped start a decorating committee, a fundraiser for the event, and improved publicity. Four years later, this past January’s Swing Night had so many attendees that we ran out of food, drink, and space!

Swing Night allowed me to sing in front of an audience without having to be in a choir, and it brought people of all programs and ages together. Additionally, it gave people something to look forward to and provided so many of us artists a place to perform, be creative, boost our confidence, and have fun. It made me happy! But more than that, it made me realize what I want to do for the rest of my life! Swing Night has made an unparalleled impact on my life and outlook on my future and it is my legacy at John Burroughs. 

What advice do you have for younger students interested in doing something like what you do? Don’t be afraid to try! Allow life to lead you toward unexpected opportunities; I always thought I wanted to be a performer, but soon learned I prefer working backstage. Be bold! Try new things! I’ve been a singer for the band and an instrumentalist for drama; mix it up!

As cliché as it is, you really can do anything you can imagine, as long as you stay dedicated, driven, and aren’t afraid to ask. If I’ve learned anything from being a performer, it’s that being scared and nervous means that you care. Power through your fear – use it! 

Don’t be afraid to try. 

Please share your plans for your future after graduation. Are you going on to college? If so, where and what do you hope to study? I will be attending the University of Southern California as part of the Music Industry program in their Thornton School of Music, in hopes of becoming a Tour/Artist Manager or Booking Agent. I’m also considering a double-major with Theatre Stage Management. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you expect the arts to continue to play a role in your life and if so, how? The arts playing a role in my life is the only thing I can be sure about my life in five years. Being surrounded by music and theatre all day is the only way I’ve ever been able to see myself, now and in my future. If I can keep the arts a central part of my daily life, I know I will love every second of it; and that’s all I could’ve ever dreamed.

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