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Academic Achiever of the Week: McCaylee Southall

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 11:18 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - From the classroom to the theater, our Academic Achiever of the Week makes the world her stage.

McCaylee Southall may have gotten a taste for what it’s like to work behind the scenes as a director but, with her 4.0 GPA, AP and college credit classes, her big dreams, and hard work, we thought it was about time to put the spotlight back on her.

McCaylee got her first taste of theater her freshman year of high school.

She remembered, “..., and it wasn’t my idea. It was suggested to me by a friend and I was kind of like you know, what’s the harm in trying it, you know?”

And she’s been hooked ever since.

McCaylee even got the chance to be student director of a school play. She described it as probably her favorite thing. And her favorite thing about her favorite thing? Well, she best summed it up describing opening night.

“There’s just - there’s a feeling that - I don’t really know that I can describe it. Like the pride and the sense of achievement I felt watching them do that, watching how the audience reacted, watching the actors react to themselves having done it...it was just...I mean, it was nuts.”

Theater has had an impact on McCaylee that far outlasts the glow of the spotlight.

“The biggest thing that drama has done for me in high school is kind of like...I was terrible at putting myself out there and not being like super shy and clamped up person and you cannot - you can’t be shy when doing something like drama. Like it just pulls you out of your shell,” she said.

AP classes, college-credit courses, and a leadership class would not be in the cards for her if it hadn’t been for the personal breakthrough, she said.

Theater continues to shape McCaylee. In fact, it influenced her decision to pursue film at Ohio State University.

Now, before she leaves, WTAP wants to give her another standing ovation.

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