Teen has lead roles in parish, school - Catholic Courier

Teen has lead roles in parish, school

Trying new things is old hat to Nick Whiting, who turned 18 on Feb. 24.

The Bloomfield High School senior has tried his hand at everything from the school’s annual spring musical to being a member of the pastoral council at St. Bridget/St. Joseph Parish in East Bloomfield. Thus far, the teen seems to have successfully disproved the old adage, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Whiting said he has been involved with St. Bridget/St. Joseph since his family joined the parish 12 years ago. He was an altar server for several years, and he’s been involved with several of the parish’s youth activities and projects, such as planting flowers on the church grounds. He also tries to volunteer at general parish functions, doing such things as serving food at parish dinners, he said.

In late spring 2005 he was elected to be one of two youth representatives to the parish’s pastoral council, and in the spring of 2006 he was elected to serve another one-year term.

“I’m supposed to kind of give them an insight into what the youth of the parish want,” Whiting said of his role on the council. “I go to the meetings and I give my input as a youth in the parish.”

Whiting said he decided to join the council because he felt it was something he could do to serve his parish, and it was an area where he could make a difference. He was asked to join the council, he noted, so other people must have had confidence in him and thought he’d make a good council representative.

“It just kind of seemed like the right thing to do,” he added.

The pastoral council was a new experience for Whiting, but representing his peers was not. He has been the student-government treasurer for his class for the past several years. As class treasurer, Whiting not only updates the treasury’s ledgers but also helps other student-government officers make decisions about class events, he said.

“Our titles are just kind of skin deep. We all do our part,” Whiting said. “I helped plan our junior prom, and I helped plan our senior trip and decide where we were going.”

Through the hard work of Whiting and his fellow class officers, at the end of March members of the senior class will visit Whiting’s home city of Chicago. He is especially happy to be returning to the city, but he wasn’t the only senior who thought Chicago would make a good destination.

“Everyone decided that it would be a good place to go. It’s a nice city, and New York City has just grown cliched as far as class trips go,” he said.

One of Whiting’s most recent endeavors as a class officer has been an attempt to establish a senior lounge, where seniors could go during their free periods instead of assigned study halls. Bloomfield High School used to have a senior lounge, but in years past other classes abused the privilege and it was taken away, he said. The seniors don’t have an actual lounge right now, but they’ve made some progress since the beginning of the year, he added.

“We’ve been successful in that we’ve gotten a small space to go for study halls. It’s not even a room, really. It’s just more of a side part of a hallway,” Whiting said.

The area the seniors are currently using as a lounge has a few tables and desk chairs, but Whiting is hoping to eventually get a couch to make the lounge area more comfortable. Representing and serving his peers has given Whiting experience that he expects will be valuable in the future.

“It helps me to understand what I need to do to be a leader,” he said.

Whiting also has been actively involved in his school’s athletics program, where he played lacrosse for several years and ran cross-country as a freshman. He’s been on the school’s MasterMinds team all throughout his high-school career, and he’s a member of Bloomfield High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society.

He’s currently busy practicing for the school’s spring musical, “The Sound of Music,” in which he plays Capt. von Trappe. He’s performed in three of the drama club’s productions, but he didn’t discover his flair for acting until his junior year.

Whiting first became involved with the drama club as a sophomore, when he joined the stage crew for the spring 2005 musical, he said. He enjoyed working on the musical’s set and spending time with the friends he made in drama club. The next year, one of his friends urged him to try out for the spring 2006 musical, which was “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

“She baked me cupcakes as a persuasive tactic,” Whiting said.

It worked. Whiting tried out and earned a role as one of the male leads. There aren’t too many males who try out for the musicals, so the other members of the drama club were very grateful for his participation, said Meg Murphy, publicity coordinator for the musical.

“The show was short on male actors, and Nick’s selflessness and willingness to take on a challenge literally saved the show,” said Murphy, who also is the high school’s nurse and a member of St. Bridget/St. Joseph Parish. “He is a terrific young man for many reasons.”

Whiting enjoyed acting so much that he decided to try out for the school’s fall play, a murder-mystery called “Alibi” in which he played the part of a detective. Acting is once again taking up much of his time, as he has to go to at least two or three rehearsals each week until mid-March for “The Sound of Music,” which will be performed March 16-17.

Whiting plans on majoring in physics in college and eventually going into research, so he’s not sure if he’ll put his acting experience to use later in life, but he said he’s glad he took a chance and joined the drama club anyway.

“I enjoy being with the people. They’re fun to be around,” he said. “I had fun. It was a good experience.”

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