Senior, Richard Montgomery High School
In early 2011, Kari Barclay was named Maryland state champion in the Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. That December, he was involved in four concurrent theater productions: He played Jacob Marley in his school’s production of A Christmas Carol; directed a play for the school’s one-act theater festival; designed the lighting for Round House Theatre’s student-run Sarah Metzger Memorial Play, The Giver; and participated in a showcase performance for Studio Theatre’s Young Actors Program.
The 18-year-old from Bethesda discovered his passion for live theater when he was cast in a fifth-grade production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. In January, he directed both English and Spanish versions of a Miguel de Cervantes play at school, making it accessible to more actors and expanding the potential audience.
Other accomplishments: Kari advanced to the top nine in the 2011 Poetry Out Loud national finals. He has acted in annual productions of his school’s Shakespeare Club and is a six-year member of the Traveling Players Ensemble of Great Falls, Va., which performs outdoors each summer throughout the Washington, D.C., region. He’s also an accomplished musical composer and pianist with a 4.8 weighted GPA in the highly competitive International Baccalaureate program. His proudest “non-nerdish” achievement: being elected homecoming king senior year.
What others say: “Nothing seems to faze him—he has a happy attitude and always brings his best work, with a wonderful burst of energy,” says Jillian Levine-Sisson, education and outreach program manager for Round House. “He enlivens the spirits of the kids he works with.”
What his future holds: Kari plans to major in theater at a liberal arts college and hopes to become an actor or director. He also wants to teach theater to underprivileged children and teens in Latin America, where he has made several community service trips.