Lakeland College

Theatre Snapshot of Success

Name: Emma Drake

Hometown: Beaver Dam, Wis.

Title: Admissions and advancement intern; JV volleyball coach

Business: Wayland Academy

William Shakespeare famously wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players …”

It’s a sentiment that would probably resonate with Emma.

“Theatre teaches you the fundamentals of life,” she says. “It’s about teamwork, caring for others and caring for your community, while at the same time being able to carry the load individually. You have to be prepared because you’re an integral part of the team. Without you, the train can fall off the tracks.”

Emma, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business management and was rock-solid academically, drew tremendous personal inspiration from the theatre program.

“Everyone’s looking for people to hang out with who are like them and who understand them,” says Emma, whose dream job is to someday run a theatre or art center. “While all of Lakeland is welcoming that way, the Bradley Fine Arts Center is where I went when I wanted someone to talk to.”

Emma never acted at Lakeland, but her organizational fingerprints were all over just about every production. She stage managed “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 2009 and says, “My involvement just grew from there.” She also played a key role with the Theatricians, serving as secretary, vice president and president, and directed three productions for the student drama club.

One Lakeland student, a football player named Todd Szymuszkiewicz, had never acted. But after some coaxing from Emma, he read for a part and eventually enjoyed a smashing acting debut in a Theatricians production. Less than a year later, he played the lead role in the school’s production of “Equus.”

“To see someone grow like that is just incredible,” Emma says.

Lakeland’s theatre program certainly helped Emma grow. At Wayland Academy, a private boarding school in Beaver Dam, Wis., there was a need for a junior varsity girls’ volleyball coach. Emma, who had never played or coached the sport, thought about something Associate Professor of Theatre and Speech Charles Krebs likes to say: “Do one thing every day that scares you,’” she recalls with a chuckle.

Her time at Lakeland came and went in a flash, but she won’t soon forget the school’s impact on her life.

“Lakeland molded me into the person I am today,” she says. “What Lakeland builds itself on is being a community, a family. That’s forever.”

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