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TCC graduate aiming for the lights on Broadway

Janae Thompson’s dream is Broadway, and the Tidewater Community College graduate is getting closer.

Thompson leaves Oct. 12 for the American Musical and Dramatic Arts Academy, a college conservatory for the performing arts with campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. Fittingly, Thompson is NYC-bound, and she credits TCC for giving her the foundation she needs to succeed.

“TCC helped me really blossom,” she said. “I am able to network with people now and build connections.”

Thompson also earned her Associate of Science in Social Sciences in August. If you’ve spent any significant time on the Portsmouth Campus, you’ve likely talked with the engaging Student Government president and the student ambassador whose fashion style is reminiscent of Olivia Pope.

A singer, actress and lyrical dance performer, Thompson discovered her love for the performing arts at a Regent University summer program. She graduated from Churchland High a year early in 2012 and decided on TCC when she was unsure of her next step.

She credits her mentor Katina Barnes, director of the Portsmouth Student Center, for inspiring her to become involved with Student Government Association (SGA). Provost Michelle Woodhouse and SGA advisor Ron Gray have also been mentors to her. In addition to a legislative trip to Richmond that allowed her to talk with representatives in the General Assembly, Thompson enjoyed attending the American Student Government Association conference.

“I really enjoyed working with students on my campus and serving them,” Thompson said.

Being part of professor Gina Tillis’ sociology class also helped Thompson’s communication skills, and in the long run, she said, benefitted her acting ability.

“You have to understand people and their habits when you act,” she said.

Thompson had to audition with a song (“Soon as I get home” from “The Wiz”) and monologue (“And the winner is” from David-Matthew Barnes) for the arts academy, which accepts just 31 percent of applicants. The integrated program combines singing, dancing and acting and has an alumni base that includes cast members from “Glee” to “Hunger Games” to “Wicked.”

“I really want to be on Broadway,” Thompson says. “Eventually I’d like to migrate to film.”

Accepted to the academy in February, she deferred admission to graduate from TCC.

“I wanted to stay in school and finish,” she says. “I’ll take my TCC experiences with me.”

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