Creating memorable costumes for a play is a skill not many people acquire. But Palmetto High School senior Renzi Wise has developed the skills needed for the job; in fact, she is so innovative with her work that she won the Critic’s Choice award at both the district and state thespian competitions.
“I submitted five renderings of costumes,” she says. “There are technical pieces and performance pieces. Set design, costume design, publicity design, things like that. For every category, they chose a Critics Choice and I was the one selected for costume. Then they chose one person to represent the district and I was named the District Eight technical representative.”
Wise went to the state competition in March and ended up winning the Critic’s Choice there as well, which made her eligible to move on to the national competition later this summer in Nebraska.
“I also act,” she says. “I was in the fall show last October. It was Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost. I’m not a singer or dancer. Generally I’ll act in the fall show, but when the musical comes around I’ll do the designs. I designed for Shrek this year.”
While Wise has the design mojo, she is not the person who sews the costumes together.
“I have very basic sewing skills,” she says. “I help with minor things on some of the costumes. As far as creating whole costumes, one of the parents helps me with that.”
Although she is heavily involved in drama, she is also immersed in other extracurricular activities. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the English Honor Society, and she participated in the Fairchild Environmental Challenge with her Environmental Science Class.
“My environmental science teacher approached me and asked if I would be interested,” she says.
One of the projects was to draft a Palmetto High School conservation plan that would accompany the new buildings in the planned renovation.
“They are tearing down the two oldest buildings, gutting the entire school, and building a new one,” she says. “Some of the things we talked about in our plan could be used in the new school. We wrote a 10-page paper. We were chosen as one of the top six papers.”
In the plan, the group proposed an integrated air conditioning system.
“Currently, we can’t control the individual temperatures in a lot of the rooms,” Wise says. “When the rooms get too cold, the teachers open a window.”
They also proposed a green roof and permeable concrete in the parking lots.
“For the green roof, we have flat roofs already, constructing a kind of garden, green area with native plants,” she says. “It has a cooling effect on the building and you use less energy cooling the building. It could be used as a lab for biology classrooms or for environmental science classrooms.”
Wise recently became involved in a charity called Project Peru. It was started by her neighbors, who go to Peru each summer and take a team of doctors and nurses to staff a clinic. Wise was working on a book and stuffed-animal drive to donate to Project Peru.
Now that she is entering her senior year at Palmetto, Wise is looking at colleges she would like to attend after graduation. Although drama is a passion, she is conflicted about her major because she is equally interested in microbiology and journalism. She has interest in Carnegie Mellon because it is well known for combining science and the arts. She also plans to apply to several Ivy League schools and some smaller arts colleges.
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld