Although she grew up in the small, rural community of Thomson, Sarah Kate Blasingame considered herself a city girl. And this past summer, she had the chance to prove it.
The Thomson High School senior spent the summer in New York City, living in Brooklyn and attending classes at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
"I always felt like I belonged in the big city," Sarah Kate said. "I'm culturally diverse. So, it was more of a feeling of home. It felt very normal to get on the subway and ride 20 minutes to Manhattan, pick up coffee at Starbucks and go to school. I felt like I belonged."
Sarah Kate received a scholarship to attend the drama school, where she earned six transferrable college credits for successfully completing the summer courses.
"My dream has been acting ever since I walked on the stage in elementary school. Being on stage is exhilarating," Sarah Kate said. "I like to do stuff that challenges me. I never considered myself normal."
The "not normal" feeling didn't fade in New York, even though she felt at home in the urban environment and was among hundreds of other high school and college students who shared her love of drama.
"I learned growing up in a small town can be very beneficial," Sarah Kate said. "Because while I was there, kids were like 'I'm away from my parents. I can do whatever I want.' But, I felt like what they were doing was not appropriate. I know growing up here, close to family, helped."
Sarah Kate is the daughter of Ben and Janie Kate Blasingame. Her mother teaches music at Thomson Elementary School and Sarah Kate said her mother often "bursts out singing or dancing and I just join in." This spontaneity also helped Sarah Kate's New York experience. She and her classmates would sing in stores, on the sidewalk or subway.
"And we actually got money for it," the 17-year-old said with a laugh. "It was fun."
The real test came when one of her assignments was to "perform the act on setting." The particular scene Sarah Kate was assigned was from Train to Brooklyn. So, she found herself on a subway acting out a scene with other students that involved arguing, crying and screaming.
"A passenger put her hand on my shoulders to console me. She thought it was real. That was one of the coolest moments," Sarah Kate said, adding that she wasn't embarrassed because "there's so many crazy people on the subway in New York that I'm pretty sure people have seen everything."
While she was learning about everything from onstage acting to backstage particulars, Sarah Kate also had the opportunity to attend six Broadway shows while there. She said it was "inspiring" to watch one of her idols in performance -- Kristin Chenoweth in Promises, Promises. But the show that impressed Sarah Kate the most was the musical Come Fly Away, because it involved no speaking parts.
"I had no clue it had no lines. It was just breathtaking," Sarah Kate said. "When I saw that I could decipher every character through their facial expressions and body language, I thought those are real actors. I would love to try that where the script is only music."
Sarah Kate is considering attending college at West Georgia Technical College or Georgia Southern University, would love to audition for performance on a Disney Cruiseline and wants to get a pharmaceutical technician degree. But for now, she continues her classes at Thomson High School and teaches drama and theater at the Thomson Family Y's Y130 on Main Street.