How AVPA Helped Millie Find Her Future


Millie lighting a theatrical scene in the Robert Frost Auditorium

Caitlin Polesetsky, President

Like many of her peers, Millie Reed is a recent CCHS graduate getting ready to move out and begin the next phase of her life. However, Millie is packing for a slightly longer trip than others. Rather than attending university or working a job closer to home, Millie will be working as a theatrical lighting apprentice in Cologne, Germany. 

Millie joined CCHS’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts School of Theatre on a whim in her freshman year, and immediately began working in the lighting crew. Learning from her peers and teachers alike, she developed her skills in stage lighting and eventually became the head lighting technician in her junior year. Her projects range from musicals, to AVPA dance concerts, to school assemblies, and more. She’s even been able to monetize her passion, working on several projects for Dee-lightful Productions, a theater camp in Culver City.

At the end of her junior year, as other students began putting together college lists and deciding where they would spend their next four years, Millie started thinking about the future. With both practical experience and a passion for Theater, she decided to look into the technical theater career path. However, careers in the arts often don’t have clear cut pathways. Millie quickly realized that she wasn’t interested in a traditional college experience and started looking into alternatives. Millie’s father, who was born and raised in Germany, told her about the German apprenticeship system, in which young people work in their chosen field in conjunction with vocational school. She fell in love with the idea and immediately started looking for a theater lighting apprenticeship. After months of searching, she interviewed for one of her top choices and was offered the job, set to start in the Fall.

For Millie, AVPA was a vital part of finding her future career. “Without AVPA, I don’t think I would’ve gone into this because I wouldn’t even have known that being in lighting or sound or rigging is even a job! AVPA definitely gave me the opportunities to learn so much, especially in regards to becoming really specialized in lighting and learning about different fixtures. The theater we have is just incredible and our resources are just amazing,” says Millie.

Though AVPA is an after school hobby for many, its impact on students like Millie may be life changing. The program gives CCHS students hands-on work in fields that many other students can only imagine working in, giving AVPA alums an enormous amount of experience for their age and a competitive edge in the workforce. More than practical skills, AVPA helps students explore their career options, illuminating roads that were previously unthought of.

“AVPA helped me so much in finding my passion for Theater,” says Millie. “AVPA was a really, really big part in me learning what I wanted to do.”