Inspirational Women at TJ


Michaiah Varnes

Lauren McFarland/Dena Rovito, Thomas Johnson High School, 3/8/2022

Michaiah Varnes, Writer

March is Women’s History Month where we celebrate women that are not shown or appreciated enough for their accomplishments in the world. Since Women’s History Month was coming, I decided to interview some amazing young women at TJ who are a part of the Academy of Fine Arts (AFA) or the TJ Music Program: Danelle Bare, Jillian Carlisle, Lauren McFarland, and Dena Rovito, who are seniors at TJ High School. They have accomplished a lot in their senior year and continue to show patriotic pride for their school. For the next generation of young women who can change the world for the better.

This year has been challenging for many people around the world because of the COVID pandemic, political chaos, international government issues, and personal problems that people face. But one thing stands out: women aren’t appreciated enough for their achievements and struggles they overcome. These students show the same qualities and leadership roles that define how influential they are to their peers and family. Struggles they have faced are the COVID pandemic, sexual harassment, mental health issues, gender stereotypes, and the stigma that women are weak so then they can’t make it in the industry. Which are important struggles that many people can relate to. Plans after graduation were college and others said traveling. Lauren McFarland got into Temple University, UNCW West University, and Sisseton Hall. Dena Rovito is planning on attending Messiah University. Jillian Carlisle and Danelle Bare are currently undecided but want to study abroad and travel around the world.

All of these students are in music programs and the AFA. But how they got into theater and who influenced them to follow their passion for music? Danelle Bare said, “it’s her own escape from the real world.” Jillian Carlisle’s biggest influence in her life is “a woman who I describe is a really happy person who has guided me through a lot in life and helped me realize a lot about myself. I appreciate her a lot and everything she has done for me”. Lauren McFarland said, “It made her feel loved.” Dena Rovito was inspired by the Disney princesses she watched as a child. Jillian Carlisle was in elementary school when she was in second grade play can’t remember doing the play necessarily but it made her realize that she loves theater. Music is a beautiful thing that can bring everyone together from different perspectives and backgrounds, it’s a universal language that speaks for any person. These young women share one thing in common which is the love for music and theater.

As a senior in your final days of a high school student usually you think about the best parts of your four years at a place you’re familiar with. When asked, “What was your favorite high school memory; why?” Danelle Bare said, “Meeting my friends I have now.” Jillian Carlisle said, “Surprisingly my whole high school experience was amazing for me, strangely really great for 4 years of my life. Something I remember doing was going to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania two months ago. We went to the museum, hung out with friends and had lots of fun.” Lauren was in the AFA for 30 years which is something that she really enjoyed doing. Dena Rovito said, “My entire senior year is going really well, the AFA, and meeting new people.” They all had similar responses that the 4 years of their high school experience was the best and will cherish forever.

As the month of March is beginning, it’s good to celebrate the accomplishments of women who have changed the world or who have influenced people to make the right choices. They aren’t remembered or talked about enough that people recognize who they are. It’s important to celebrate women as well, what they achieved, and continue to be inspirational to other young women around them.