Ready for next steps

Lewis challenges others to try new things in high school

Dylan Lewis graduates from Central High School Saturday and plans to major in education and vocal performance. His role model is Jeff Witt, Central’s theater teacher.

Photo by Emily Mentzer.
Dylan Lewis graduates from Central High School Saturday and plans to major in education and vocal performance. His role model is Jeff Witt, Central’s theater teacher.

INDEPENDENCE — On the last day of school for Central High School’s Class of 2017, Dylan Lewis looked content.

Wish the graduates well

What: Central High School’s Class of 2017 graduation

When: Friday, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Panther Stadium, 1530 Monmouth St., Independence.

“I’m sad about leaving the people, and sad about leaving the theater department and choir,” Lewis said. “I was in those for four years. It’s no different than the last football game for a senior. It’s bittersweet. I’m so glad it’s over, but sad to see it go.”

Lewis is eager to begin his next steps at Oregon State University in the fall to double major in music education and vocal performance, with hopes to follow in the footsteps of Central’s theater and music teacher, Jeff Witt.

He spent his first 13 years of education in and out of various schools, starting at Independence Elementary School, and spending some years at a charter school, a private school, and being home-schooled before heading back into the Central School District in eighth grade to finish up his secondary education.

Central has given him all the tools he needs to move on, Lewis said.

“All the things I want to do, I learned the basics here,” he said. “It’s not putting a small fish in a big pond, it’s following a river path and making it to the huge open ocean. I’ve learned a lot here that will prepare me for the future.”

Central schools have been more effective for Lewis than some of his other educational experiences.

“At private school, if you’re smart, they can’t accommodate that because they’re smaller,” Lewis said, explaining that he was gifted in math at a younger age, but because his school couldn’t advance him, his mathematical brain dwindled.

Looking back, Lewis said he’d wished he’d gone to more school events, and encourages his classmates and new freshmen to do just that.

“They’re actually more fun than you think they’ll be,” he said.

Lewis, who started his high school career playing golf and football, also encourages students to try new things.

“You never know what you’re going to love,” he said. “All of a sudden, your passion will change. I’ve seen my passion change. I loved football. Now I love theater.”

Lewis has enjoyed the culture at Central, where the transition from a “jock” to a “theater kid” was a smooth one.

“The crossover isn’t as bad as it would be somewhere else,” he said, noting that his friends have a variety of interests, not just the stage.

Lewis doesn’t plan to leave Central in the dust, and plans to come back to visit often.

“I’d never disappear,” he said. “I love it too much. I have to support my fellow thespians.”

Out of all the roles he’s played on stage, Lewis said the Genie from “Aladdin Jr.” was his favorite.

“I had so much freedom in that show,” Lewis said. “So much fun.”

Lewis plans to continue his theater career this summer at the Pentacle’s production of “Spamalot.”

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