J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate is full to the brim with extraordinary students with many different passions. The staff at Eye on the Storm has decided that these students deserve to be recognized for their hard work and talent. Explore the lives of 10 exceptional students that are profiled here as part of our series: Trending Ten. Get ready to be inspired!
Akshaiya Sasiharan is a Grade 11 student who is involved in the wide community of J. Clarke Richardson. She will be playing Rafiki in our school’s performance of the Lion King Jr. Alongside her role, she also works on her beautiful passion — singing! She continues to work hard on strengthening her talents and improving her weaknesses. Akshaiya is showing students that we can fulfill our dreams and passions at any moment.
Tell me about yourself and what you do
My name is Akshaiya. I’m currently in theatre. I love to sing. It’s my favourite thing to do all time, and acting is actually really new to me. I honestly wasn’t going to do theatre but last quadmester when I was in music class my teacher came during lunch and said “Oh you should go to the theatre!” and with that, I was like maybe, maybe, and I wasn’t going to at first. But if I didn’t, I would have deeply regretted it! I love theatre. It is the best class ever. It’s my whole afternoon, which makes my semester really easy.
I have two solos upcoming to perform in the school, so I’m really scared of that, because they’re both really huge songs and huge high notes, so that’s something I have to figure out.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
I honestly don’t know. I have no clue what I’m going to do with my life, which is sort of freaking me out, but I would love to keep doing music. It’s just a huge passion of mine, but I know I’m going to university for sure. I’m probably going to keep singing and keep acting, it’s new. It’s really fun.
I don’t know if I have any roles I want for the future yet, any role would be great as I enjoy every single one!
What advice do you have for students that want to make a change?
Honestly, people are going to say no, people are going to say stop, people are going to say it’s stupid. Don’t listen to them. Just go for it, because in the end, it only matters what you think, because it’s the change you want, so you have to make it happen, just go forward, that’s all I’m saying.
What keeps you motivated to follow your passions?
Motivation-wise, it’s the people surrounding me, they push me on, and sometimes I just feel like I can’t do this. I feel down a lot, but the people around me remind me to stop, knock my sense, and help me push myself further toward what I want to do.
Both, a mix of both people and the end goal. The end goal is the main goal, but people are what get me to the goal.
Before theatre, I did not talk at all with people. There was a row of students and I sat in the middle of it all, seeing cliques and groups form. But now it’s so different. We’ve come together and now we’re just one big community. A community I enjoy being a part of.
Right now, (this is my first time in theatre) I have a role as Rafiki. There are not many emotional scenes at the moment, but right now there’s a scene where I have to make a connection between me and my friend who’s in grade 11 as well. And we have to make sure that we have a connection so the audience can see Rafiki and Simba have a connection. A connection that can persuade Simba to come back to his homeland. Because before that he refused to go back, in that song, it’s his turning point and it’s my victory to be able to use time and persuasion to bring back Simba.
What quote do you live by?
I love Taylor. Anything Taylor Swift says is an iconic quote. Anything she says is a quote right there. Every single song is so good. Any song from Folklore – it’s a storytelling album, right? She quotes some from her own experiences, and her own folklore. I write songs as well, and it’s still an iffy thing, but it’s working itself out. It’s getting better, I think.
I think her albums and folklore are a huge inspiration for storytelling things.
Sometimes I just base my songs on books I read and what I would imagine playing during a specific scene.
What is a challenge that you have had to overcome?
Singing in front of people, just people in general.
People are scary, just terrifying. Before the pandemic, I would not sing in front of anyone in general, if I were to, I would break my nerve system, but then the pandemic happened, and I took upon inspirations like Demi Lovato and just thought “why not, why not?” and just went for it. So, in 10th grade, I took my first vocal class, it was still terrifying. I had not had private lessons, so I was hesitant. We had it online the whole time. I had it the last quadmester, I wasn’t experiencing anything, so I took it in grade 11. I made lots of friends and actually sang in front of people. There were very questionable performances, but everyone still had fun. Fast forward to now, which I am now in musical theatre, which I’m so grateful for.
I just remember ever since I was young, I’d be in the car and then my parents would play Tamil songs, and I’d be going off and singing, but very very quietly, so that they don’t hear because I’m so nervous, I still haven’t sung in front of my mom, or anybody.
Anything else you would like to share?
Join the theatre! It’s the best class ever and you’re guaranteed to enjoy it.
Silly question: What do you think is the meaning of life?
Meaning of life?
Life is a timeline that always has the same ending and same beginning, you become born and you become dead. It’s your life, your choice and this would be your only life how you are currently. You have to make your own decisions, and decide what’s right and wrong for you. You can’t live for someone else, because they’re living their own life and you’re living your own life.
Just make your own decisions in life.