"I have no idea what I want to do for a career," Jenna Blanton laughs, sitting in the Swanson Middle School music room. "I’ve been thinking about it, trying to find what I really like, but I can’t seem to choose just one thing that I want to go for."
Eighth grader Jenna’s diverse interests are obvious in the play she wrote for YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program last semester,Lost in the Jungle. Her main character, Alice, travels to the jungle to work with her biologist uncle, but when she arrives, her world collides unexpectedly with two young tribal warriors.
"My dad has a dog named Alice," Jenna explains, "and I love the outdoors, so when I was writing the play, I was thinking about the dog, and being outside, so I came up with the girl Alice being in the jungle with her uncle. I just kept going from there."
While Jenna’s love of animals and nature has led her to consider a future as a veterinarian, she also has a strong interest in the arts. She is enrolled in a year-long theater elective at Swanson, where she gets to both act and write creatively. YPT integrated into her theater class once a week last semester, guiding students through the process of writing their own original plays. "I actually found out that I like writing, and I was already into theater, so this year I decided to take the full-year drama class," she says. "I just love acting."
In addition to her talent for the dramatic arts, Jenna also plays the guitar and even writes her own songs. "I just write about what’s going on in my life at the moment," she says, and laughingly adds that her friends all compare her to Taylor Swift, both for her love of music and her long, wavy blonde hair.
Whether she’s songwriting or playwriting, Jenna hopes that others will take something away from her finished product. "When I’m going through something, and don’t necessarily know what to do about it, I try to get an answer through art. I hope other people will understand and be able to take it for their own use."
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