YPAS students respond to their magnet labels


Manual’s YPAS Jazz Ensemble performs admirably at their concert. Photo by Allison Underwood.

Isabella Edghill

For the fourth installment of RedEye’s series on magnet based stereotypes, we look at the Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) magnet. Some students preferred to remain anonymous so that they could feel comfortable providing honest and candid feedback. Students addressed their experience with stereotyping, their decision to apply to YPAS and the worst and best parts of the magnet.

When asked about their stereotypes, YPAS students reported being described as dumb, overworked, obnoxious, useless, gay, dramatic and know-it-alls. YPAS was also perceived as an easy magnet.

The descriptors weird and annoying were stereotypes listed most frequently. 

“I’ve heard that we are annoying and weird and we’re too loud or always singing,” Lennys Cue (11, YPAS) said.

“We’re loud, obnoxious, and annoying,” a freshman reported hearing, “but I just think we have bigger personalities than other majors.”

These “big” personalities could potentially become aggravating to fellow students, but may also be what is necessary to thrive in the arts. The passion YPAS students have for their craft may be considered weird by students in other magnets.

YPAS students, whether they are musicians, performers or creators, take their art very seriously, and came to YPAS to pursue their passions “I chose YPAS because it benefits my dreams in the future. I want to be a fashion designer and being in Design and Production prepares me for that,” Nevaeh Brown (10, YPAS) said.

“Music has just always been one of my greatest passions and going to YPAS would not only let me pursue that further, but open the door to so many opportunities,” a vocal music major said.

For students who love their chosen art form, going to a school where their artistic ability is prioritized like YPAS clearly makes sense.

“I am very interested in the arts as well as wanting to grow my craft. I love acting and I want to do it everyday,” Willow Fox-Young (9, YPAS) said. 

“Ever since 6th grade I realized how much I was into theater and acting. There was a lot of talk about YPAS and I dreamed of being in it. My decision to go to YPAS was sealed when I went to watch their production of Mama-Mia,” a theater junior said.

The passion and dedication of the students of YPAS comes with a lot of time and hard work dedicated to practicing and performing.

“It’s not all fun and games. We worked hard to get in and to put on shows and productions,” Ayla Starks (9,D&P) said.

“You have to take what might have been a hobby of yours a lot more seriously,” Micah Reardon (9, YPAS) said. 

Many YPAS students wish others understood how much time and effort goes into perfecting their craft, both inside and outside the classroom. From classes everyday to private lessons and evening performances, YPAS students’ hard work extends far beyond the school day. Some feel as though other students don’t value or respect these efforts, especially when they stereotype the magnet as easy.

“It takes a lot more effort than people think,” Cellist Elijah Wolff (10, YPAS) said. 

“Lots of Manual kids complain about the work and how YPAS kids have it easy, but Lord, are they far from right. Having to memorize music, not only for performances but for juries, and having to do the same classes they take at Manual, it’s stressful,” a junior said.

“I don’t think people truly understand the amount of effort, time and dedication it takes to succeed in YPAS,” a band senior said. 

YPAS students have found that labels depended primarily on what major you were, noting that theater, musical theater, band and dance were stereotyped the most. “Mainly musical theater and band kids are the stereotyped ones,” a junior said. 

“You’re a band kid or you’re a theater kid, neither of which are fun to be categorized under. Band kids are like the “edgelords” who use outdated jokes and painfully unfunny humor as a form of communication. Theater kids are bombastic, loud and over-the-top,” William Shavkey (10, YPAS) said, explaining the various stereotypes. 

Students do make sure to point out that grouping together all students who share a major is unfair and inaccurate. 

“Honestly it’s mostly the theater kids who get stereotyped. I mean some of them aren’t helping their case, but most of them are pretty nice,” Maya Romanowski, (10,YPAS) said.

“The main stereotype I hear, even coming from other YPAS students, is that the dancers are stuck up. I encountered them when I worked on Dance Concert 2022 and the ones I talked to were very nice,” Brown said.

These students highlight the importance of getting to know someone before dismissing them as their stereotype.

Another common stereotype cited was that YPAS students were arrogant. While calling all YPAS students cocky is a vague and broad generalization, some YPAS students themselves believe it to be somewhat true, and they often listed arrogance and competitiveness as negative aspects of the magnet.

“I’m a trumpet major, and I have personal experience of people in my section who were so cocky and arrogant about how good they were that it sucked a lot of the enjoyment out of playing,” Shavkey said.

While each student strives to be the best they can be and to earn their place in the spotlight, competition can ensue and individuals can be perceived as arrogant in high stress environments. Some students said this competition can get toxic and ruin the vibe of the magnet.

“Feeling like I always have to compete with the people around me is exhausting,” Shavkey said.

“Vocal is such a competitive department. Solos are a sure way to get talked about, both negative and positive. The slander on whether you deserve to be in this magnet, or deserve to get this solo, it’s awful, but you learn to ignore it,” a junior said.

“People have a tendency to be really arrogant and over competitive,” Payton Mindel (12, YPAS) said.

“It always feels like there’s more competition than actual fun things going on a lot of the time,” Charley Ignatow (10, YPAS) said.

Along with getting to practice their craft, the community at YPAS was commonly cited as the best part of the magnet. Students are able to sharpen their skills and grow as artists because of the faculty and fellow students. YPAS is a unique space where students can trust that their peers will show up everyday and are ready to create alongside them. 

“You get a sense of togetherness. Everyone is there for everyone, regardless of how well you know one another,” Ignatow said.

The magnet system allows for individuals with similar interests to come together to forge deep friendships. 

“Since guitar is small, we’re like a little family. It’s a big support system and I love our little family!” Romanowski said.

“Words can’t put into perspective the amount of incredible people I’ve met, people that make me feel like I’m genuinely part of a community. When we had our New Orleans trip last year I’d play card games in the hotel lobby with people I didn’t know at all, and it was completely natural,” Shavkey said.

Just like students in other magnets, each YPAS student is unique. There are many different talents and personalities in YPAS, each able to shine within the magnet’s nine departments: Band, Dance, Design and Production, Guitar, Musical Theater, Piano, Orchestra, Theater and Vocal Music.

“The truth is that YPAS is a huge magnet and there’s so many types of people that fit every mold. As long as people are able to move past a stereotype once they become acquainted with an individual, all is well,” Shavkey said. 

YPAS students wish the rest of the school valued their talents more. One way fellow students could do this is by supporting the various YPAS concerts and productions.

“I wish people understood that we need support just as we support them. We all go to the football games, attend after school activities for clubs, and many students don’t attend the YPAS shows or offerings,” Clark Worden (12, YPAS) said.

More than anything, it is important to realize that although YPAS’s building may be separated from the rest of the school, their magnet is a part of Manual, and they are just as hardworking as other magnets.