Hayley Nelson, Senior
Redwood High School, Visalia

Eleven years ago, Hayley Nelson was a six-year-old trying out for her first role in Tulare County Office of Education’s (TCOE) Theatre Company performance of Rudolf and the Island of Misfit Toys.

Now as a senior at Redwood High School, Hayley prepares for her last TCOE Theatre Company performance and looks back on all the ways that her theater experience has helped her.

Hayley Nelson

Hayley says, “This experience has been an extreme confidence builder. At six years old, I thought, ‘If I could only be half as kind and talented as the TCOE high school performers,’ and now I am one of those performers. These six year olds look up to me and I have a responsibility to show what the passion of theater can do for a person.”

Theater director Nicole Zweifel says, “Hayley has been involved with the TCOE Theatre Company since first grade. She is a kind and classy lady. She has an exceptional, natural sense for comedic timing and her dedication to everything she does will take her far.”

Beyond the script and stage, Hayley excels in academics with a 4.0 GPA. Additionally, she is a four-year choir and theater student, vice-president of the book club, swimmer and member of the Fellow Christian Association and Science Olympiad.

Hayley’s determination and driven ambition for performing is obvious, but among her friends she is known as a ray of sunshine. Friend Javier Camacho says, “Hayley’s greatest attribute is her positive attitude and caring for others. She is always making sure we are happy.” When asked what the most challenging part of her day is, Hayley comments, “Feeling emotionally exhausted after a full day of acting as my character, particularly after playing a villain. Being mean can take a lot out of you!”

So when the curtain falls after her final performance, Hayley plans to pack up for college, majoring in English with a triple minor in history, theater, and music. Hayley would love to attend USC and one day work her dream job as head writer for Saturday Night Live.

Javier Camacho, Senior
Redwood High School, Visalia

Seven years ago, Redwood High School senior Javier Camacho played a boxer pup in the TCOE Theatre Company performance of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. The experience instilled in him a love for theater and Javier has never looked back.

Much like Hayley, Javier has spent his high school career engaged in the arts, theater and other extracurricular activities, all while holding a notable 3.8 GPA.

Javier Camacho

It didn’t take long for Javier to notice the intricate details of performing. “Every little thing you do on stage has a purpose. Whether you are belting out the high note of the show-stopping number or walking on stage for five seconds in the background, a performer must do every action with a purpose or else there is no reason for your performance.”

Nicole Zweifel says, “Javier is mature beyond his years in the way he approaches every theater project. He brings his own perspective to the table every time and sets an example for everyone around him that no role is too big or too small to put in 100 percent of yourself.”

Last spring when TCOE Theatre Company looked to include more student direction, it was only natural that Javier and Hayley combined talents and co-wrote a musical, Movin’ Out. Javier was assigned as the show’s director and led his peers through a performance that captivated the audience with an emotional story about students preparing for college and finding their way through friendship, love, and life. Javier says, “Directing entails a lot more focus and concentration and a different set of leadership skills. Directing peers requires a level of fairness and respect for their talent and not relying so much on the friendship we have for each other.”

Friend Hayley Nelson confirms the success of Javier’s role as director. “He is a natural born leader around his peers. He makes sure everyone is included and that we are all doing our share.”

As Javier wraps up his senior year, he plans to attend college at UC Irvine and will continue to keep the idea of directing live theater close to his heart and well within his future.