Star Spotlight: Mia McManamy

Junior Mia McManamy will be transferring to Interlochen Center for the Arts in Traverse City, MI for her senior year to enhance her acting and singing education.


Junior Mia McManamy sings with a group of high school students at Interlochen Center for the Arts this past summer. McManamy looks forward to being surrounded by many talented people next year. photo courtesy of Mia McManamy

by Katie Massman, Twitter Editor

What exactly are you doing next year?

I will be attending Interlochen Arts Academy High School in Traverse City, MI for my senior year of high school.

Why did you make this decision?

 I went to camp there summer before my 8th-grade year, so I always knew that the school was something I wanted to consider, but I never fully took it into consideration until the summer of 2019 which is when I last went. I then decided to apply early to see if I could get a merit scholarship. When I did get in and received a scholarship, it made it possible.

So how many times have you been on campus?

I’ve been there for a total of three months because I’ve been for two six week sessions in 2016 and 2019.

How did you apply?

It is exactly like the college application process. I had to fill out all my personal information, and my parents had to do the tax form.  I also had to send in an audition video, just like you would for a pre-screen for a college musical theater audition.

When did you apply/find out you got in?

I found out I got in in mid-December, and I made my decision in early January.

How long have you been thinking about transferring there?

Like I said it was always kind of something that I had considered, but it kind of really hit home after I had such an amazing experience there this summer. I learned a lot and got to know more of the faculty which inspired me to apply and see if the possibility became a reality. It all still seems pretty surreal because it’s like a dream that I’ve always had that’s actually coming true. Telling people has also been a little bit weird because it doesn’t seem like I’m actually leaving.

What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about the growth I’ll have there because I know that the faculty is going to be pushing very hard. Since it’s for theater, I’m still going to have all of my academic classes but an added Arts major on top of it. I’m on the musical theater track so I’ll have acting, dance and singing every week which is just so much fun. I’m also excited to be surrounded by all different Arts majors because I have been there for summer camp and it’s quite similar—there’s just so many talented people that go there. And yes, it is scary at first but then you see them and you’re like “I want to be better, I want to be as good as them if not better.” It really, really, really pushes you. And it’s just such an inspiring environment – it’s in northern Michigan surrounded by the woods with like music playing – it’s like a movie.

What are you apprehensive about?

I’m pretty apprehensive about getting homesick because I am really close with my family and friends. I obviously want to stay in touch, but if I hold onto Kansas City too much I won’t get all that I can out of it. Obviously the last thing I wanted to do is leave my family and friends, but I know it’s the right decision in my heart, I just have a lot of signs. I think it’s going to be very difficult at times, but it’s also going to be amazing so it’s just finding that balance. And I expect to have a hard time transitioning because my friends that go there have told me it’s really difficult, but it’s the most rewarding kind of difficult.

Does this have anything to do with your college/post-college plans?

Absolutely, a huge factor in my decision was how it’s going to help me for the college audition process and the major that I’m in helps take us to those auditions in Chicago called Unified. The faculty there really trains you to be the best you can be for college auditions, and it helps with later scholarships in the future just because you have that extra training and better quality that they give you there.

What are some major differences between STA and Interlochen?

I mean, it is pretty much college —I’ll live in a dorm, eat in the dining hall, walk to my classes and we can go off campus. I think I’ve really gained that independent factor from STA, I remember my freshman year was you have to advocate for yourself. I’ve always been an independent person but high school has helped me become more independent. And I will still take math, English and have normal school from 8 to 2, but I also have that extra layer which is amazing, it’s a great bonus. And it’s all arts kids and boys. Also, I won’t have a uniform, but I’m probably going to wear leggings and a t-shirt or sweatpants, but the snow is going to be like 5 inches. There’s always snow, but it’s definitely very beautiful.