PAC takes trip to State Finals, first time since 2004

PAC will be participating at States on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 at Grand Rapids Christian High School. They earned second at MIFA, with a understudy and low budget. Mikayla Portee, Emily Garrod and Avery Wilcox bond before their performance at the Gull Lake Middle School for friends, family and community members.

On February 13, the Performing Arts Company placed second at Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association (MIFA). For the first time in since 2004, PAC is moving on the State Finals at Grand Rapids Christian High School on Friday 19 and Saturday 20.

In 2004, PAC tied for first with the production of 1984. Since then PAC has been close, but not quite making it to States. In 2011, Robin Nott, the previous theatre arts director, stopped directing the winter shows as part of his retirement process, so PAC stopped competing in MIFA.

“Just the string of bad luck that every team faces as far as making it to States goes; even when we were still competing, we’d lose out by the skin of our teeth,” said senior and PAC member Kirsten Sluyter.

According to Sluyter the direction and guidance from new PAC director, Jonathan Kind, was a key factor in making it so far.

“We also have an amazing, hard-working and dedicated company of kids. Honestly, I think we all just really wanted to make it to States so badly that we made it happen,” Sluyter said.

But, despite all of these positives, all of the kids participating in PAC are still new to all of this have never competed before.

“It doesn’t help that we are competing against schools whose budgets far exceed our own, as that is definitely a factor,” Sluyter said.

Schools with larger budgets contract and pay outside workers to build the sets for their plays, but Gull Lake’s PAC work is all done inhouse–they build the sets themselves. Despite the added time to build the sets, they still earned second at MIFA.

Regionals held at John Glenn High School in Bangor, Michigan didn’t go without last a minute change. An understudy had to step up to fill in the role of the Grandma at the last minute. A lot of credit goes to Nanami Tsuchiyama, a junior exchange student from Japan, who was the replacement for the character who gives comic relief to the emotional play.

“Without her we would not have been able to even have a show at regionals,” PAC director Kind said.

The Gift Cast
Created with Canva by Lexi Warren.

Even with the unexpected Grandma switch, it was still a strong performance according to Kind and Sluyter.

“We’ve had really strong, very emotional responses from judges, competitors, and audience members alike,” Slyter said. “Our show is painfully real and acutely emotional for anyone who’s life has been touched by cancer, so we end up seeing a lot of teary faces.” Kind said the judges appreciated and praised the nearly flawless technical aspect of the show and gave both the Stage Crew and Lighting Crew awards.

Awards were also given to Megan Scott, Keyshawn Wilson and Mackenzie Sternburgh for their main roles.

“We were competing against  four other schools from across the state and directly compared based on many multifaceted criterion,” Kind said.

As far as the judges go according to Kind, they told them many things that they already knew, but that it was good for the cast and crew to hear it from someone other than himself.

“We definitely have things to work on, and we are already beginning to implement their critique in our rehearsals,” Kind said.  

Opening Ceremonies are at 11 a.m. on Friday. After that different schools perform nearly constantly until awards Saturday night around 7pm. Gull Lake’s PAC will perform The Gift at 8pm Friday night.

“Now that I am here, we will be competing every year; hopefully we will have as good of, if not better results,” Kind said.

Click here to see the schedule of States:


Lexi Warren

My name is Lexi Warren, I'm a senior this year. This is my third year on the Reflection staff. I play varsity girls tennis for Gull Lake High School. I work at Gull Meadow Farms in for the fall season and up until Christmas. I have two older sisters and an older brother. This year I'm taking college classes and a Teacher Academy Education for Employment (EFE).

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