Derry student steps into limelight
Liza Kindl distinctly remembers being allowed to help her dad with one of the theater productions at St. Vincent College when she was only 7.
Her father, David, serves as technical director for St. Vincent Theatre, based at St. Vincent College near Latrobe.
"My father let me put cobwebs on the stage," said Kindl, 18, now a senior at Derry Area High School. "I've been hanging around the theater all my life, yet I couldn't decide exactly what I wanted to do as I got older. It finally dawned on me that I'd been there all along. When something feels like home, it doesn't feel like a career choice."
Kindl's road to a future in the theater has been paved with experience.
Since 1999, she has worked as student prop manager and performer in the school musicals "My Fair Lady," "Oliver" and "Camelot." She's student director for the upcoming "The Sound of Music." Kindl has been a member of the art crew and has performed in class plays, including "Touched by an Angle," "Trixie the Teen Detective," and "Small Wonder." She played a lead role in the all-class play, "The Thread that Runs So True."
Kindl, of Derry, began working as a member of the set crew for St. Vincent Theatre, a professional theater company, in 1998. She helped to construct and decorate sets, and assisted with lighting for the 300-seat theater. Kindl also has served as prop manager and performer for St. Vincent Children's Theater, an amateur company that produced children's plays at the college.
Kindl, who was selected by the high school guidance department to be featured in Spotlight on Youth, is an honor roll student with a 4.0 grade point average and an SAT score of 1480.
Last year, she was named a leadership conference delegate for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. She was a member of Derry Area's Academic Quiz team in her freshman and sophomore years, and a varsity member as a junior and senior. She is a member of the Academic Excellence Society, the French Honor Society, and the high school's 30-voice ensemble, a show choir that performs in the community.
In addition, Kindl has been president of the National Forensic League and Pennsylvania High School Speech League during her junior and senior years. She is a quadruple ruby member with more than 1,000 cumulative points in competition. This month, Kindl will compete in the state forensics competition at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Snyder County.
"Six students from Derry are going to states this year," Kindl said. "Our forensics program is small, but powerful."
She will take part in the radio broadcasting competition. "At states you have to write a script, and you have to read a script the judges prepare. But they don't give you much time to prepare."
This will be Kindl's fourth time at the state competition. For two years in a row, she missed going to the national competition by just one point.
"It's frustrating, but I keep trying," she said. "I have an original oratory I wrote for states, so I'll be trying that out to see if I can get to Atlanta."
She has won numerous public speaking awards and was a member of the WPIAL section championship volleyball team last year. Kindl is also a founding member and first president of the newly formed Drama Club at Derry.
Her mother, Christine, is assistant city editor for the Tribune-Review and the author of its gardening column. Her father teaches special needs students at Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New Stanton.
Kindl was named a National Merit commended student in the 2002-03 school year and has been accepted to Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College to study theatrical design and production. Roughly 1 percent of Ohio University students are accepted into the honors college, and fewer than half a dozen HTC undergraduates are expected to study in the theater department next year.
As part of the university's program, Kindl hopes to travel to England to work and study during her junior year. Upon graduation, she will have a portfolio to show potential theater employers and graduate schools.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to get a design position in England and actually work -- to develop a reputation and see what it turns into," Kindl said. "I'd like to work for a couple of years before going back for graduate work at Yale."