March-April 2012 | Education

Top Teens 2012

Bethesda Magazine's 2012 Extraordinary Teen Awards.

Photo by Michael VenturaSasha Berger

Senior, Walt Whitman High School

For the past three years, this theater-loving Bethesda teen has helped cognitively and physically disabled adults perform on stage.

A mentor for ArtStream, an inclusive theater company in Silver Spring, Sasha Berger assists with auditions and improvisations, and brainstorms with them to create an original musical each year. She performs onstage during productions, helping the actors with their lines or leading them to their places if necessary.

“It’s my favorite activity,” the 17-year-old says.

Other accomplishments: As Whitman’s drama club president, Sasha is overseeing three productions this school year. She also helps teach and review dance routines as dance captain for the school’s theater department, and sings with two school choruses and with two a cappella groups outside of school. And, as if that weren’t enough, she works to make Whitman more environmentally friendly as a member of the Green Team and she’s the founder of the school’s “Don’t Stress, Stretch!” yoga and meditation club. She’s one of 12 teenagers nationwide who serve on the Discovery Education Student Advisory Board, a think tank for a division of Discovery Communications in Silver Spring.

What others say: “I knew Sasha had the personality to deal with our unique population—she is very patient, caring and selfless,” says ArtStream co-founder Sally Kinka, who first began directing the teen 12 years ago in productions at Bethesda’s Imagination Stage. Director of Operations Jennie Lutz has noted those same qualities. “Not only is Sasha an incredible performer on her own, but she knows what it means to give others their shining moments,” Lutz says. “She has great instincts in helping others.”

What her future holds: Sasha will attend Washington University in St. Louis this fall, and is considering majoring in environmental studies while staying involved in theater, dance, music and volunteering.