(Lucy Knowles / The Foothill Dragon Press)
Foothill Technology High School

Seniors plan unique career paths: Actor, illustrator and officer

Cameron Liljekvist: A future on a Broadway stage to “get those dreams accomplished”

Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press
Senior Cameron Liljekvist was surprised and excited to be accepted into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. (Lucy Knowles / The Foothill Dragon Press)

Senior Cameron Liljekvist has dreamed of becoming a Broadway actor since the third grade, so his acceptance into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) hit him with a wave of emotion. It was not only his first choice college, but also the only school he applied to.

“I was very shocked. I didn’t think I was going to get in,” Liljekvist said. “Approximately 10,500 people auditioned, and only 26 percent get in.” He’s not going alone, because his best friend, Ayla DuMont, was accepted as well.

In order to get into AMDA, one needs experience in theatre.

“The more, the better,” Liljekvist said. He has been in many live productions, including the “King and I,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Into the Woods,” “Peter Pan” and “Annie.” He will soon be auditioning for “Les Miserables.”

A recommendation from an instructor in the arts is required for admission consideration. Liljekvist received much acting and singing help from Marta Dewey, Foothill drama teacher Karen Rodrigues and Company Show Choir’s Heidi House.

Also, one must audition live, or through a video. Liljekvist recited a monologue from playwright Lanford Wilson’s “Brontosaurus,” and sang “No More” from Into the Woods.

AMDA has two campuses: one in Los Angeles, and the other in New York City.

What’s unique about this school is that Liljekvist will spend his freshman and junior year in Los Angeles, and his sophomore and senior year in New York.

He also said during the last semester of senior year at AMDA, students’ assignments are to audition for parts in Broadway shows. If they land a role, the school is flexible, and will work around their rehearsal schedule.

Liljekvist’s ultimate goal in life is to perform on Broadway, and “get those dreams accomplished.”


Alexia Khodanian: A concept artist in the animation industry because “that’s what I was always meant to be”

Alexia Khodanian hopes to become an illustrator. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press
Senior Alexia Khodanian hopes to attend California College of the Arts or Otis College of Art and Design. (Lucy Knowles / The Foothill Dragon Press)

Growing up, Alexia Khodanian was always complimented on her drawings.

She never had any formal training, but learned by reading online and observing the outside world, especially “perspective and color,” and then, “translating it into drawing.”

Khodanian describes herself as being very detail oriented, and always looks back on old work to see how she has improved.

“Every time I start drawing something, I want it to be better than the last,” she said.

Khodanian has put hours into what started as a hobby, turned into a passion, and will now be a career.

“I don’t really like the argument that you’re born with talent, because I feel like it dismisses a lot of people’s hard work,” she said. “You have to persevere. You have to keep going.”

Khodanian wants to be a concept artist in the animation industry because of “their important role in designing the visuals in the project,” she explained. As she grew up, she looked to animated movies for much of her inspiration.

She applied to two colleges where she plans on majoring in illustration. Her first choice is California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco, but she would also be happy going to Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Her goal as a concept artist is to come up with an idea and to then watch it develop into a movie or show, and be there for every step along the way.

Though she has only done a few animations, she has been drawing digitally for six years.

“I feel like I never really decided I wanted to be an artist [… ] that’s always what I was meant to be,” she said. “If I have a day where I’m not drawing, what is my point?”



Joe Albaugh: Enlisted in the United States Armed Services because “I have a very keen sense of what is right and what is wrong in the world”

Joe Albaugh will be attending an officers school. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Joe Albaugh will be attending an officers school. (Lucy Knowles / The Foothill Dragon Press)

Senior Joe Albaugh plans on entering the armed forces after high school. Ever since the age of eight, Albaugh knew that his calling was the armed services.

“I’ve [always] loved a challenge and helping other people and I have a very keen sense of what is right and what is wrong in the world. I thought that my path to changing the world would be to join the United States Armed Services,” he said.

In the armed services, there are two categories that people can fall under. The first category is the enlisted. Those who are enlisted don’t need a college education. They only need to sign up and afterwards, they are processed. Then they are sent off to boot camps that can last from seven to twelve weeks, depending on whether they signed up for the Navy, Army, or Marine Corp.

The second category is the officers, which is what Albaugh is aiming for. Those who apply for an officer position must have a college education. They can apply to the Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, or a four-year college of their choice that offers the Naval Reserve Officer Training (Naval ROTC) or the Army Reserve Officer Training (Army ROTC) program.

Albaugh applied for the Naval Academy and Army ROTC, but says that if they don’t work, out he is “most likely going to enlist in the Navy.”

After college is the Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS) which is a 12 week program that consists of “intense tactical and leadership training.”

“The difference between officers and enlisted is that there’s leadership within [the enlisted], but they’re usually the followers- the people that get things done. The officers are usually the leaders who come up with the plans to execute missions,” Albaugh said.

To prepare for the armed services, Albaugh joined the Civil Air Patrol the summer after his freshman year and stopped just last month.

“It’s an auxiliary of the Air Force and it’s a youth shaping program, so you do military things and it’s basically geared towards leadership building and character development,” he said.

Joining the armed services also means being away from friends and family members for extended periods of time. For every 30 days that you are deployed, you get a two-day leave. Those who are on tour, or deployed overseas, are usually away for eight to nine months, depending on the mission.

“Of course I’m gonna miss my family […] but at least I know they’re safe. I don’t think I’m going to have to worry about them,” Albaugh said.

He advises those who are planning on joining the armed services and becoming officers to “practice being a leader.”

“The best leaders come from having a lot of experience. And it’s got to be something inside you that keeps pushing you to something for the United States,” he said.

-Hanna Malco and Rachel Sun