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FEATURE: Charlotte Johansen, sophomore sensation

By Athziry De La Peña

Beyond the stage lights! Charlotte Johansen, a sophomore at BHS, is very active in all types of Batavia activities, including head of fundraising of Batavia Drama Program, Swingsingers, Principal advisory group, mock trial, photography, a bulldog ambassador for the district, and many more extracurriculars. 

Johansen was a freshman representative in the drama board last year. She is now the new head of fundraising of the program. 

“I love seeing people find the thing that they’re really passionate about,” she said. “When I first joined last year in the first meeting the board welcomed us all in.  They seemed so happy to be there, and just so excited about what they were doing! I also have loved meeting new people. It can be very scary getting up on stage, but knowing you’re doing it alongside people is the best feeling!”

Johansen has had lots of accomplishments but always looks for ways to be better and improve.

“She’s constantly coming up with innovative ideas/ fundraisers for us to do and she’s not afraid to voice the opinions of those in the program that might be hesitant to say them,” said Julia Dietz, a junior and president of the drama board. 

“ I loved being involved and meeting new people,” Johansen said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the drama program for the past two years, which has helped me grow and make new friendships!”

Johansen expressed the open mindset she keeps while being in these programs.

 “She is a crucial part of the program because of her talent,” said Hailey Adams, a senior and member of the Drama Program. “She helps support everyone and each role she has! Without her, the program would not have a light that lifts everyone up. It has been great working with Charlotte. She is super fun to be around and always positive. She is beyond devoted to her work and works super hard for everything. Her personality helps bring up everyone and helps everyone work harder. Going from an assistant director point of view, she is amazing at taking notes, and isn’t afraid to try something new!”

Johansen seems to be an asset to the program in the eyes of many.

The extracurriculars she is involved in have helped her in her acting and working with others. 

“I like to do a little bit of everything,” Johansen said. “I’ve accumulated little things from a lot of them. Mock trial, and improv help us work well on my feet, as well as working with teams. Principal advisory group, as well as being bulldog ambassador has helped me take more leadership role. Also working with adults and people from different professions/experiences. All of these things have helped me become a more rounded performer. Being able to surround myself with different people, and be apart of different experiences.”

She was the lead in the school production, Mean Girls. While the sweat streaming down her face like a river during late rehearsals paid off in the end. With acting comes a lot of difficulties and challenges. “Letting yourself make mistakes. It’s scary to be a character and think, ‘woah this a real human person I have to be.’ There’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect person for this character, to do everything right.” 

Connecting with her character, Cady, was a journey that taught Johansen a lot. 

“Cady is such a bubbly and fun person to see the world as this new and shiny. I think cady taught me a lot about friendship, and how to hold the people you love close and to not let them slip away.” 

With the help of her two best friends anything is possible for Johansen, she said. 

“They basically are my sisters, Neela and Justine. Having them in my life helped me develop Cady’s character. Cady’s main goal in life is to find a place where she belongs, and having these wonderful ladies in my life from day one helped me push Cady to find that real genuine friendship.” Charlotte expresses her dedication to find herself inside of her character.

“Charlotte is a very hard worker and is very kind and amazing to work with. She has an uplifting and positive attitude. Her bubbly personality and hard work really helped the show progress and come together. She was so fun to work with during Mean Girls and I’d love to work with her again!!” said Megan Cooper, a junior who played Regina George in Mean Girls. 

Joy Mamminga, a member of the drama program, mentioned how Johansen made her feel on the first day of rehearsals. 

“I remember walking into my first rehearsal scared because I didn’t really know anyone,” Mamminga said. “But I remember meeting Charlotte and she just had such a positive vibe. Throughout Mean Girls her energy was what kept me going during long rehearsals. She was always so positive and dedicated to what she was doing. It made everyone want to work harder. Even during long days when I was tired and wanted to go home, Charlotte always made rehearsals better. Her energy is contagious.”

Not only does Johansen focus on her well-doing of her acting and her responsibilities, but she also puts in an effort to support and encourage her teammates. 

“Working with Charlotte is any actors/actresses dream,” Dietz said. “She’s constantly uplifting those around her! She has an overwhelmingly positive attitude. She has a crazy work ethic in everything she does! She’s such a backbone of every production! We all know we can depend on her on and off stage.” 

“Teamwork is so, so, so important,” Johansen said. “A show is only good if everyone is working collaboratively and recognizing the importance this everyone can bring to the table.”

Johansen has definitely had her fair share of hardships while working on shows.

“When I was in 42nd Street, I was very confused about the dances majority of the time. I felt very lost, occasionally out of place. However, I met Hailey and Beth. They really took me in from the first rehearsal and made me feel like a part of the team. They helped me find my place on the tether program, and helped me find the ropes in high school in general,” said Johansen 

Swingsingers is a 37 member mixed audition show choir that Johansen is a member of.

“Swings has helped me become a better all around performer! It’s been such a big part of my life and really helped me find interest in theater and performing arts in general,” said Johansen

“Charlotte is one of the  most hardworking people I know. While she pushes herself to be the best, she simultaneously is one of the kindest and most humble people I know. You would be hard pressed to find a more devoted person anywhere. She lifts up the entire group with her infectious joy and her dedication. Swingsingers is so lucky to have someone like her on our team!” said Grace Elftmann, a member of Batavia Swinsingers. “She is almost too devoted to her work. You can tell she gives one hundred percent into everything she does whether that is the musical or show choir,“ said Justine Howell, a close friend of Johansen.

Johansen definitely plans on working on theater in the future.

“I’d love to! I plan to go to college for theater, but I don’t know what “branch” yet. Every aspect of it is so interesting to me from the writing, to the acting, to the behind the scenes work! I’d say my biggest aspiration would be something comedy related. I’d love to be able to write, and act! Sketch comedy just has a warm little place in my heart and to be able to pursue that would be a dream.”

Photo courtesy of Seamus Samsami

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