Even as a seventh grader, Jonathan Berry is a YPT veteran. He first participated in YPTs In-School Playwriting Program when he was in the fifth grade at Bancroft Elementary School. Now a middle school student at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, Jonathan is participating in YPTs After-School Playwriting Program. YPT provides theAfter-School Playwriting Program in area community centers and partner schools across Greater Washington, and Jonathan is participating in a program for middle school students based at Sitar Arts Center in Adams Morgan. Before enrolling in YPTs playwriting class, Jonathan was already a busy student at Sitar, taking classes in acting, hip hop dance, graphic design, video and photography. However, when his acting teacher suggested that he join the playwriting workshop, he couldnt wait to bring playwriting back to his repertoire and to work with YPT again.
Right now, he is developing a character based on Robert Griffin III, star quarterback of Washington DCs professional football team. "I made him into a high school kid, trying to get through a lot of things that high school kids are getting through. Applying to college, going through family and personal things... and I just made that character my own." Jonathan hopes to use his play to show people how to keep trying when life gets tough. He explains, "Just look at the Redskins now. Theyre still going through it, trying to fight through it. When things are bad you just have to keep trying and never give up or lose hope."
A multi-talented writer, Jonathan is a poet and an aspiring novelist, as well as a playwright. He can hardly contain his excitement about his current project outside of YPT, a book that he plans to write entitled The Untold Truth. He says that he is writing about "why people lie and the secrets behind things. Whats not being shown." Hes keeping the specifics close to his chest, and wont reveal more than that until the book is finished - but we are certainly excited to read the finished product.
Jonathan particularly enjoys his English and science classes in school. He doesnt know what he wants to do when he grows up, but hes interested in becoming a scientist, author or football player. When asked about his future, he smiles confidently and shrugs. "Im an all-around guy," he says. "I havent chosen my path yet, but whatever I choose, I know its going to be the right one and help me get where I need to go."
No matter what he does when he grows up, Jonathan plans to stay involved with YPT. "It helps kids bring out their ideas and express themselves. I just want to support that idea."
Interested in signing your child up for YPTs Sitar Arts Center program? Its not too late! Email Program Manager Thembi Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.