Art Groups Bond Students of All Ages

Working toward a common goal unifies VAPA students of all ages

IGNITING PASSION. Sophomore Maya Vanek, senior Maddy Noh, sophomore Sophia Steinert, seniors Kaitlyn Nguyen-Pham and Grace Tu, junior Haley Hosokawa and sophomore Safah Faraz represented the yearbook staff at the annual IGNITE yearbook camp held at Pepperdine University. While they have won gold in the past, they were only one of four programs to win a gold award this year.

Helena Hu and Tiffany Wu

Whether slurping steaming hot ramen noodles on chilly All-State orchestra nights, staring into the bright lights of center stage or finally feeling the glossy finished product of a year’s hard work in hand, the arts have created unique opportunities for cherished memories despite different ages or talents. These experiences have transformed artists into families by working toward collaborative goals.


Creating a book of memories for students and staff to enjoy is what serves as the bonding activity for passionate members of yearbook. As through summer camps and strict page deadlines, staff members trust one another for their accountability on personal responsibilities and appreciate one another’s unique talents, passions and work habits. 

“Every year, I have been able to see just how close our family is,” co-editor-in-chief and senior Grace Tu said. “This year, I was able to become closer with the underclassmen editors through the [Ignite Yearbook University] workshop. I know I will miss those nights when we stayed up until four and worked tirelessly together while having deeper conversations that tied us closer to each other.”

With the introduction of sophomore Safah Faraz as co-editor-in-chief this year, the foundation of knowledge that its inaugural members have learned has become a legacy for underclassmen staff. 

“Being an underclassman EIC is a daunting role but also really important,” Faraz said. “Being an underclassman EIC allows me to get the experience and advice I need from our senior editors so that I can pass it on to the rest of the class next year. It’s crazy to think about, but we are the future, so it’s crucial we get a taste of leadership.”


Although many musicians dedicate hours of time to individual practice and lessons, the members of symphonic orchestra have created a family bond through the necessity of unity in an ensemble.


“If you want an ensemble to succeed, you need to play your instrument as an extension of the group, not of yourself. I think it’s also important to listen to what the other sections are playing and try to fit in with the dynamic of the ensemble,” sophomore Ryan Jung said. “At the same time, though, you should be comfortable enough to voice any opinions you have about changing the score or how phrases are played.” 

While there tends to be a divide between grade levels on campus, musicians in symphonic orchestra share similar skills when it comes to their respective instruments. As a result, they must be able to connect in order to be musically in-tune with each other. 

“Orchestra is a really great method of meeting new people who share similar passions, and for me, I’ve been able to connect to more sophomores and learn about incoming freshmen by being able to talk to them during the class,” junior Annie Li said. “Without orchestra, I would not be able to have done so, as orchestra really includes different grade levels that you get to work with.”

Musical Cast and Tech Theater

After months of rehearsals, singers, actors, dancers, musicians and technicians will come together to present the annual spring musical. Many of its members have been in the musical since their freshman year, but even those who are new to the cast are excited for the production.

“Including the upcoming spring musical, I’ve been in three musicals so far: ‘Wizard of Oz,’ ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘Cinderella,’” junior Stella Park said. “My personal favorite memory was the last show of ‘The Addams Family.’ Before we performed our very last show for ‘The Addams Family,’ we all sang ‘Happy Sad,’ gave each other big warm hugs and went on stage with positive energy, happiness and tears. I’m sure that all of us are looking forward to making even more memories as a family this year.”

Its newest members are excited for the long hours that will be spent together and the guidance that veterans will offer during the process.

“Everybody in the musical is really encouraging, and they’re basically the ones that encouraged me to even join,” junior Kate Dang said. “I heard it’s a really good experience from all the seniors and everybody who’s been in the musical for years already. I’m excited to see how everything happens behind the scenes and to get to meet more people.”