Whisper and Shout

Imagine walking down the hallway during a busy high school passing period not saying one single word to anyone. Imagine attending a school where they teach in a foreign language. Imagine having a voice, but having nobody to listen.

Whisper and Shout

Natasha Reid

This is the unfortunate reality for sophomore David Estrada. He often finds himself wanting to say something, yet not being able to say it out loud. Fine arts department chair, Wanda Teddy, experienced Estrada’s quiet personality first hand as a student in her stagecraft class.

“He wouldn’t even say two words in that class freshman year,” Teddy said. “[Estrada] is like a gentle giant. He’s that tall but very, very quiet kid. If I asked him a question he would nod his head and say, ‘mhm.’”

Although he didn’t say much, Estrada was comfortable with this class as it is something that interested him.

“I have always been fascinated and interested on what goes on backstage during a play or musical,” he said. “So when I saw that their was a class specifically set on building the sets, I could all but wait for the class to start,” he said.

However, it was not just the class’s content that made Estrada open up a little. Teddy made him feel like he was at home. Sure he liked what the class had to offer, but Teddy and stagecraft was his way out. It was his way of knowing he could finally have a voice.

“In normal classes, I tend not to talk until I get to know the teacher, but in Ms. Teddy’s class I couldn’t help but start talking,” Estrada said. “I really felt at home and that continues to this day.”

Teachers have students that are quiet and barely say a sentence, but normally, they tend to eventually open up,” Teddy said. “Estrada was different though in the fact that it was not just warming up to people, it was a real communication problem: a language barrier.”

Before he knew it, Estrada was picking up on English pretty well. “At first, speaking only Spanish made it hard during the first years of school, but in time I was able to learn from teachers, friends, TV shows, and movies,” he said.

After conquering the language barrier and finding a class that suited him, Estrada didn’t really know what to do next. Lucky for him, stagecraft came with mandatory attendance of two theater events.

The more Estrada did, the more he found his voice. As he worked on the 2015 spring musical, “The Music Man,” Estrada was able to practice more and more to gain the confidence of knowing what set had to be where and when.

“It became this thing where I didn’t have to worry about anything backstage because David finally found his voice,” Teddy said. “He definitely ran the show backstage.”

People in the fine arts department argue that his experience with the musical is what made him find his voice. Estrada can surely attest to that as he has always wanted to work behind the scenes. 

“To tell you the truth, I don’t really know what made my voice louder,” Estrada said. “In my opinion, it could have been many things, but I think the one thing that really helped was the fact that it was my lifelong dream to work behind the scenes at a play or musical. After accomplishing that I just felt the need to get out there and get myself noticed and for once I could be who I wanted to be.”

Estrada wanted to be the man that could get things done behind the curtain.

“He definitely ran the show backstage and he’s already taking ownership over things in the beginning of the school year,” Teddy said.

Having the important unseen role during productions is a pretty big task not many could tackle. But what about outside of the fine arts world? Estrada sees himself in an unique role and position within the ACHS walls.

“I see myself as the guy who knows when the set is supposed to change and what set has to get on stage in the next 60 seconds,” Estrada said. “I am the guy that everyone knows, even though I don’t know everyone else, I see most of them in the halls but we don’t say hi or gesture to each other.”

From the fine arts family supporting Estrada, Teddy has noticed something new about him.

“Now when he is on [the fine arts] side of the building, there’s this wit and confidence I haven’t seen anywhere else,” Estrada said. “He found where he belongs and fits.”

“I am just the guy you pass in the halls who happens to know another language, but doesn’t say anything but secretly lives somewhat of a double life.” Estrada said. “I was quiet because I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, but ever since I meet Ms. Teddy I really felt like I belonged somewhere in school.”

Estrada was the whisperer. With his voice unheard, nobody really knew him let alone respected him. After meeting Teddy, it changed. His voice was becoming heard. It was not a soft whisper. It is a shout. A shout made for everyone to hear.