Liberty alumni perform from the heart

Maddie Browne, Feature Editor

Not many teens get the opportunity to pursue their first loves. But for some Liberty graduates, their very first love—theater—becomes their career.

“I think I’ve always loved performing. In fact, I’m sure the number of times I treated ‘popcorn reading’ as a legitimate performance outnumber those of any other 3rd grader,” George said.

Right from the start, George, whose public name is now Olie G, found herself in theater and music, starring in roles such as the princess Fred in Once Upon a Mattress.

Similarly, Lindsey VanGerpen, another recent graduate of Liberty, acted from a young age.

“I started performing in shows when I was five, but my love and involvement in theater really began when I joined Liberty drama my freshman year,” VanGerpen said.

George and VanGerpen never attended Liberty at the same time, but they have the same memories of their time in the drama program.

“Theater was my community and family in high school,” VanGerpen said. “It was so nice to spend time with people who were so welcoming and like-minded, with directors who had true passion and talent for teaching and building relationships with us.”

Both graduates, through the LHS drama program, were able to grow their passion and talents, and now translate their knowledge from theater to their current jobs—George as a recording artist and VanGerpen as an entertainment host at Disneyland.

“The Improv troupe at Liberty led me to experience the honest, 100 percent on-the-spot style of comedy and drama,” George said. “That really honed my drive to pursue music and express my personal experiences using the performing arts and entertainment.”

George has released five tracks in her album How We Love, drawing from her experiences in life and in theater.

VanGerpen, on the other hand, uses her drama experience to supplement her childhood dream.

“I’ve always had a love for Disney, so it has been my dream to work there for what feels like forever,” VanGerpen said. “I felt like I could really be confident in going for it based on my experiences with Liberty drama.”

Theater, to both alumni, is more than just an extracurricular; it is their career and their passion.

“The performing arts is all about finding that connection and expressing it in a way that most suits you,” George said. “We are all meant to do something great and play a part in making our community whole. People follow passion every single time. Go for it.”