Brining the Heights to Central Park

Christy Wong, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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On Thursday, June 8, the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights celebrated its hundredth year anniversary and our many of friends at Columbia Secondary School (CSS) were invited for a very special performance.  The cast and crew of In the Heights originally delivered outstanding performances of the musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, during February 3, 4, and 5. Several students who were in the musical, were asked to make an appearance during this celebration, after several directors of the middle school after-school program felt moved by the performances they witnessed.  


The YM & YWHA of Washington Heights has generously funded several school programs within New York City, including programs within our middle school.  In addition, the CSS musical production would not have been possible without the funds provided by the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights.  This celebration allowed for programs funded by the YM & YWHA of Washington to showcase the how the funding has benefitted them.  


Professor Attridge and other cast members have been working diligently to perfect their performance for a gala at Central Park.  This performance at the Boathouse was different from what we normally see from this cast’s appearances in the auditorium each February.  The cast members were required to put together a performance in front of a different audience of people and in a space they are unfamiliar with.  However, these students are so talented that their performance was anything short of amazing.


The arts have been such a major part of these students’ lives.  This is evident when Niagale Fofana, sophomore, confessed, “Musical is my favorite part of the day because it gives me a way to relax.”


Everyone who has contributed to this performance was incredibly dedicated to the musical and dedicated to gaining fulfilment from entertaining their audience.  


“This event is incredible,” said one of the stars of the musical, Santiago Coto, senior. “I like performing for the musical; it makes my days better and it is an absolute honor to do what I love in front of some really great people and represent CSS.  To be able to showcase what we have done is amazing.”


Julie Jimenez, senior, was happy to be able to perform for CSS for one last time.


“I think this performance is is a great opportunity to relive the great moments that occurred in this year’s musical,” said Jimenez. “To be able to help the school continue to receive funding for the arts is also great.”


Even the musical directors were excited to have the honor of performing at the gala.  Attridge described the experience as “transcendent” and stated, ”This performance allows us to have the experience of performing something greater than one’s self, it benefits community greatly. … Not to mention that we get free shake shack!”


Our In the Heights cast members were glad to celebrate their accomplishments with the community thank the CSS community who came out to support them.  They have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and finally have received the recognition they rightfully deserve.  These students share a common bond, the passion they have for the arts. This passion has been a driving force that has resulted in jaw dropping performances each year, which always improve from the year before.

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