Earlier this month Jamaica Plain’s Jonah Barricklo took the stage and delivered his valedictorian address to his fellow Boston Arts Academy classmates.
The Boston’s Arts Academy (BAA) valedictorian and theater major moved to Boston from the Bronx, NY in 2017.
While moving to a new city and attending a new school halfway through your high school career is never easy, Barricklo said his BAA peers were welcoming – not only to the school but also to the area.
Since arriving in Boston Barricklo showcased his singing, dancing and acting skills, starring in this year’s spring musical Memphis at the Strand Theater. Being able to perform in a 1,400 seat theater is something he never even dreamed of doing before graduating high school.
Before Barricklo heads off to Emerson College in the fall the Jamaica Plain Gazette interviewed the recent graduate that is sure to be on his way to stardom.
Jamaica Plain Gazette: How Does it Feel to be BAA’s Valedictorian?
Jonah Barricklo: I am honored to be BAA’s valedictorian. It is so nice to have been so warmly welcomed into the community at the school. Being valedictorian is a representation of all the hard work I committed to my education in the last four years, and I really appreciate all the care and support BAA gave me along the way.
JPG: What Was It like Moving to a New City and a New School to Years Ago?
JB: As the new kid, you’re always a little nervous about fitting in at a new school. I was worried I wouldn’t make any friends, but my theatre class welcomed me with open arts and included me in the ensemble right away. They made me feel like I wasn’t new to BAA or Boston.
JPG: What Did You Like About Attending BAA?
JB: BAA has pushed me to be a stronger artist in many ways. As an actor, I’ve been able to find new depths of character and character analysis than I ever have before. I’ve also been able to grow other auxiliary skills like directing and lighting design that make me a well-rounded actor and have had the unique opportunity to take dance classes with the dance department, learning how to take more risks and build my skills as a performer. I’ve also become a better citizen by attending BAA because of the school’s diversity which has exposed me to a wide range of students with unique stories and family heritages. Most of the arts industry lacks representation and diversity, and BAA is one of the few places that help underprivileged students who may not have had the chance to make their voices heard.
JPG: What Was It like Performing in Front of a 1,400 Seat Theater When You Starred in BAA’s Spring Musical, Memphis at the Strand Theater?
JB: Being able to perform in a theatre the size of the Strand is something I never even dreamed of doing before graduating high school. It was incredible to perform in front of three audiences sharing the stage with my classmates and friends. We had so much fun collaborating across departments and I was thrilled to showcase all our hard work.
JPG: Why Did You Choose Emerson?
JB: I’ll be attending Emerson College to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. This will pave the way to a career in the performing arts.