Q&A with the Class of 2024: DaShaunDre Steele, Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA)
DaShaunDre Steele, SOTA student

DaShaunDre Steele found his voice in the performing arts department at Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA), where he grew his passion for music and performance. With graduation right around the corner, Steele reflects on how much he’s grown since starting at SOTA and how the supportive teachers and school community contributed to that growth.   

This is what DaShaunDre had to say about his experience:  

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?     
I’m most proud of my growth. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was very shy and closed off. I didn’t really talk to anyone during that time. When I left middle school and came to SOTA, I was scared at first.  

My first real audition was for the musical during my sophomore year. I got a call back for one of the lead roles. I feel like that experience helped me get out of my comfort zone.  

Over the last three years, I’ve had the opportunity to be in multiple productions, and I’m in a band and in the choir, where I’ve auditioned for multiple solos. Looking back, I don’t think I would have been able to do those things when I started at SOTA. I’ve really found my voice here.   

What are your plans for next year?    
I’m deciding between University of Washington in Seattle or Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. I’m leaning more toward Marymount because I think going there will open a lot of opportunities. I want to pursue musical theater and continue doing performing arts.  

In the long term, I want to get a master’s degree in teaching and become a performing arts teacher. The teachers here at SOTA really helped me grow and feel a part of a community. I want to pay that experience forward to future students.  

How has your school experience helped prepare you for that pathway?     
This past semester has been stressful because I’ve been deciding which college to go to and what I want to do with my life. My teachers have given me a lot of good advice on how to go about this process, and they’ve really helped me broaden my perspective on what to do next in life.  

What's a challenge you've overcome?    
When I first started at SOTA, I remember feeling like I needed to be a certain way to fit in. I felt like my work had to be perfect to keep up with my peers. That experience helped me grow and get of my comfort zone.  

What are you looking forward to next year?    
I’m looking forward to new opportunities. I feel like I’ve used most of the resources available to me at SOTA to get to where I am now. I am in a good place right now to go out and gain real world experiences. Professional theater will be very different from high school theater, and I’m excited to experience that.  

Describe yourself in three words.     
Imaginative. Ambitious. Collaborative. 

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