The commitment and sincerity you see on the APTP stage reflects months of rehearsal, but represents only a fraction of how ensemble members invest their time while at APTP. By joining the APTP community, our young artists also dedicate themselves to discovering their own success through education. For most teens, the culmination of their APTP journey is our free college counseling program, through which more than 90% become the first in their families to go to college.
Writing from St. Olaf College, Lilia Escobar (APTP Class of 2013) shares her first-hand experience of the power of APTP beyond the stage – and even beyond the city limits:
My first year at St. Olaf College has been transformational, and I’m so thankful for my years as an APTP ensemble member and to APTP’s college counseling program for making this possible.
I already have so many exciting updates! I’m getting close to figuring out my major. I know one thing, after an immersion experience I had in my Winter Interim class, I am almost entirely sure that my future will be in the non-profit sector working for social justice and possibly in youth development!
I’m in AMAZING classes that I love, and I’m excelling like you wouldn’t imagine! I’ve taken courses in psychology, sociology, biology, qualitative field methods, statistics, religious studies, and dance. In Statistics I aced my quizzes and problem sets; in Dance I led my more-experienced peers in group projects; in Religion I learned so much about theology and challenging my own faith, including a whole new perspective on homosexuality and religion; and in Sociology it felt great to already know how to think critically in terms of race and inequality. I am going to Nicaragua for Spring Break! A Christian org on campus is traveling on their annual trip down there, and I get to be a part of it! Being a Spanish speaker is super valuable; I’ll be one of the three translators on the trip, and I get to play theater games with children there in SPANISH.
I’m also applying to do summer research at St. Olaf. It is a continuation of the research group that I am currently a part of. There are only three spots for the summer, but I’m a shoe-in! Why? I’m fluent in Spanish, and I have past experience in qualitative fieldwork through APTP. This will be great experience for my future career path. The professor has done activism with so many Chicago groups I know from our immigration and housing work at APTP. She loves me! The research topic is Educational Research from the Borderlands: Latina/o Student Testimonio as Ethnography and Documentary. Part of the research involves us working with middle and high school Latino students in a program called TORCH (Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes). I’m so excited to help inspire these students like I was inspired at APTP! I never stop talking about the impact my APTP home had on me. In fact, my roommate interviewed me to base her theater class project on APTP. She’s using me as an example to show the importance of the arts in the education and life of a person.
I also have 3 money-earning jobs: front desk in the admissions office, admissions tour guide, and running the nursery for my church on Thursday mornings. I’m Public Relations officer of one of the coolest orgs on campus, focused on bridging separations on campus in terms of race, age, interests, etc.
I am so grateful for every little piece of each of you that I carry around with me all day, every day. It is that love and knowledge from all of you that has ignited such a burning passion in me.
I promise I am making use of my life.