Given their dedication to their art form, school performance, and important role in our community, it only makes sense that Andréanna Wright and Ryan Jackson are our Artists of the Term. These Lancers have spent all four years at La Follette High, contributing in very different ways.
Wright has made her contributions mainly on stage, partaking in Voices Choir here at LHS, beginning sophomore year. Outside these red locker-lined halls, Wright has been involved in a handful of musical endeavors, such as House Theaters’ production of “Hairspray” last summer, in which she played a Dynamite, along with the occasional solo for her church, specifically during the holiday season. For the past ten years, this senior has been a faithful member of the Wisconsin Children's Choir, an auditioned group of young singers. After realizing her vocal talents post singing the lead for a Christmas musical that her mom auditioned her for, Wright decided to join the choir. Every summer, for two weeks, the ensemble tours around the U.S., and it was during one of these trips that she realized the capacity of music. “There have been a couple songs where we would sing and there would be people in the audience crying. That’s when I knew the impact music had on people,” the vocalist recalls. When she isn’t bringing listeners to tears with her powerful voice, she is involving herself in numerous extracurriculars. Wright has participated in the swim team the past four years, claiming Team Captain during her junior year, running the mile and throwing in the spring on the track team, Secretary for Black Student Union, and participating in basketball. The singer has also found her niche writing for the newspaper in the Lance class, which she has been in for 5 years. Currently, she sits as Editor in Chief, which is no surprise. Freshmen year, Wright was titled assistant editor, making her the first student to assume the role as a freshmen under Mrs. Kennedy, whom she credits as being one of her biggest influencers at La Follette. Additionally, her mother and father inspire her. “My mom is one of my inspirations because she has taught me how to be a self sufficient and independent black woman. How to just be true to yourself and strong. To be confident in yourself. My dad inspires me to never give up. He’s always showed me how having a certain drive will get you what you want,” Wright boasts. Despite her immense musical talent, Wright is opting for a different route, planning to double major in biology and spanish, going on the pre-med track at Jackson State University in Mississippi. Once graduated, she will pursue her M.D in obstetrics and gynecology. Nevertheless, she plans on staying in touch with her musical side. “My philosophy is that if you love doing something so much you’ll find time to do it,” she states.
Ryan Jackson is opposite Wright, involving himself not with the music world, but with graphic design and photography. “I started photography on vacation with family and I would be the family photographer,” Jackson revealed. Since then, the future graduate has engrossed himself in developing his skill. Jackson is in the graphic design class at La Follette, as well as the Information Technology Academy (ITA), a tech program that assists in academic college prep and offers internships. Jackson has pegged his involvement with this pre-college course as his greatest accomplishment, and when it concludes, he will create a Senior Capstone project using photography and 3D images to display what he’s learned. Among his other achievements is maintaining a 3.7 cumulative GPA, which played a role in his nomination to be apart of National Honors Society, as well being hand-selected by Mr. Milton to attend Minority Student Achievement Network (MSTAND) in Boston last year. Moreover, Jackson has been a faithful member of HOLA Club, BSU, Key Club (while it was offered), and AVID AP. “Having been a shy freshmen, getting in those clubs fortunately helped me open up to other people and be more social,” Jackson recounted. Considering his full resume, it’s not at all shocking that the artistic student has already been accepted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Milwaukee, Edgewood, and more. Specifically what path the Lancer will take depends on his choice of education, but once finished with his undergrads, Jackson hopes to move down south, attend an HBCU and pursue a career in nursing. Still, his love for his craft will continue prevail as he undertake photography as a side hobby. “[Photography] a way for me to capture my creativity,” he stated with simple directness. “What I really enjoy is going out into the city or going out into nature and just setting up a shot. Just being out there.” Graphic design appeals to him because “it’s not limited by your imagination.” Mr Sackett, his AP U.S. history teacher, is one of Jackson's inspirations and mentors. “Being a student of color in when I signed up [APUSH] I thought, ‘This is going to be a struggle for me because there’s not a lot of kids of color in these classes,’” Jackson proclaimed. “He was very supportive and he kept me in line and I actually really enjoyed it. He’s an absolutely amazing teacher.”
These two expressive and impressive students have very bright futures ahead of them, rather that be in relation to their artistic abilities or other endeavors, and it is exciting to see what more amazing things they will accomplish once they walk across that stage.