Vanessa Handy is a rising senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. Anyone who knows Vanessa would describe her as a performer, but it wasn’t always this way. “My “performance career” started in 4th grade I’d say”, explains Vanessa. “It’s one of my clearest memories actually. I had a solo in the song “Lean on Me”. It was my first ever solo performance and unfortunately both of my parents had to work that night, so they couldn’t attend the concert. Long story short I thought that my parents didn’t come because I wasn’t good enough for them.” While this wasn’t true, Vanessa’s doubt stuck with her and to limited her performance growth for the next 4 years. “I stayed in band and choir during middle school but I did the bare minimum in these areas. If there was something that required an audition, I immediately steered away from it. Back then I performed for the wrong reason,” Vanessa says. Now, approaching 12th grade, Handy performs because “it sets her soul free”. It wasn’t until 8th grade that she set aside her insecurities and auditioned for my school’s honors choir. Since then, she has never looked back.
“In high school, I hit the ground running with a new mentality and the knowledge that the only one I needed to please was myself. I auditioned for extracurricular school choirs and the NJ all-state chorus. I am now a proud member of all of them!” Vanessa says with excitement. “I continued to play the flute and even tried a jazz ensemble once. I joined color guard to try something out of my comfort zone. I took my love of watching theatre and transferred it into what’s now a passion for performing on stage.” She’s even had a few solos along the way! If someone had told Vanessa in middle school that in just a few years I would be doing all of this, she would’ve laughed in their face. “Being a performer has taught me so much about myself and brought an immeasurable amount of joy and purpose to my life,” says Handy.
This is truly a touching story, thank you, Vanessa! Below are some pictures of Vanessa excelling in her performances!