On Sunday February 5, The HCA Teen Advisory Board, which was formed in the spring of 2021, hosted their first ever, “For Teens by Teens” open mic event. It was tremendous, like heart bursting with pride and joy – tremendous!
The HCA Teen Advisory started with a hope and vision to make the HCA a safe space where teens could find community in celebrating and enjoying the arts and performing for peers. Tonight we saw this come together in a room that was packed with kids who didn’t just perform and leave, but lingered, socialized, and enjoyed food and conversation while cheering on their peers. It was beautiful. I was so grateful to see it come together.
The HCA TAB group began as a group of about fifteen students representing Hopkinton, Ashland, and two Voc-Tech schools (BVT and the Aggie), as well as AHMSA, Nipmuc, Worcester Academy, Montrose School and Algonquin Regional HS. This year we have students from AHMSA, Ashland, Hopkinton, Algonquin and Montrose.
Because we began during Covid, our board was not able to do much in terms of in-person meetings. We conducted meetings via zoom and our TAB members were not as connected in the way we saw them today. This past year we have seen them work collaboratively, and this open mic night was a dream come true for all of us. It brought the initial vision of what the HCA TAB could support and share into real possibility and promise.
The TAB group meets monthly, either via zoom or in-person. TAB members are invited to the adult board meetings, to many HCA events (both as patrons and as volunteers), and they sit on adult committees of the HCA to learn and contribute to the inner workings of a nonprofit organization dedicated to the arts. Our goal was to do what we could as adult board members to support learning through doing, and engaging the tremendous energy and insight that young people have.
As committee chair and the adult leading this group, it has been my privilege to talk less, listen more, and to mediate and empower these students to take initiative and show leadership. This was an incredible celebration of young people, the HCA, and the immense talent these students (and our community members) possess.
The HCA TAB Board is currently recruiting members for the next round of initiatives. We are accepting applications from students grade 8 to 11. We welcome any teens that wish to apply!
I also want to give special thanks to our current board:
From Hopkinton: Caitlin Graziano, Alice Potapov, Olivia Stacey, Jordyn Ahlstrom-Hall, Juliet Findlen, Eva Crane
From elsewhere: Lucy Demeo (Montrose School), Ella Fong (Ashland HS), Alexandra Tokar (Ashland High School), Kate Michel (Algonquin Regional High School, Sydney Michaud (AHMSA)
I am tremendously proud of all of them, and we thank the community for their continued support!