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Katherine Atkinson a Performing Arts and Academic Powerhouse

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Staging Success: Junior Katherine Atkinson is taking her love for musical theater as far as she can take it.

Staging Success: Junior Katherine Atkinson is taking her love for musical theater as far as she can take it.

Olivia Chewning

Olivia Chewning

Staging Success: Junior Katherine Atkinson is taking her love for musical theater as far as she can take it.

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Not many people in the throes of high school can boast that they successfully balance a growing career in performing arts, a job and their junior year as an IB student, all while managing to squeeze in some spare time for social activities on the weekends. One student, however, does all of these things. And in doing so, junior Katherine Atkinson has become a Wonder Woman-like student who excels at everything that she does.

As a 4.0 student, director of Sutton Middle School-based musicals, and possessor of formidable musical talent, it is a wonder how Atkinson juggles any, much less all, of the commitments on her plate. Her secret? Taking things as they come, she said, one day at a time.

Atkinson’s passion for music began in elementary school when she performed in the Buckhead Girls Choir, a group that teaches the elements of music theory, performance skills and vocal technique. It was through this organization that she learned skills to carry her to the next level. In sixth grade, Atkinson tried out for “Into the Woods Junior,” Sutton’s first high school-run musical. When she wasn’t cast, she was devastated. “I went home to my mom and cried on her shoulder all night,” said Atkinson.

The next year was the turning point for her, when she again auditioned and was cast in “13: The Musical.” She said she devoted all her energies toward the role. It was during the production that Atkinson was introduced to Parker Whitlow and Caroline Geckler, who inspired her and instilled a love for musical theater in her. She has carried this love into high school through performances in North Atlanta spring musicals. During her freshman year, she scored a major role in “Little Shop of Horrors” and followed that up with a big performance in last spring’s “Rent.”

Beyond all that, Atkinson has stayed busy directing musicals at Sutton Middle School. In November she co-directed Sutton’s production of “Hairspray,” an endeavor she shared with senior Taylor Diamond. “I want people to be as much in love with the art form as I am because it has really changed my life,” she said. “It teaches so many necessary life skills like communication, grounding and confidence.”

In addition to spending three months every year bringing the middle school shows together, Atkinson has been able to balance a successful career as a student. Throughout high school she’s stayed on the honor roll and has resoundingly done so this year as an IB student. For college, Atkinson’s dream is to attend either New York University or Carnegie Mellon University for a musical theater degree.

Atkinson said she’s frequently asked how she handles so much. “Well, time management is everything and that all took me a while to learn,” she said.

Anyone who has seen her work, especially in the Sutton musicals, can see her positively impacting young lives. A strong academic performer in high school. A dynamic director and performer on the stage. Her fans all say this: Kudos, Katherine. Keep up the command performance!

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