Sapulpa student named international officer

Sapulpa senior elected as international society officer
Posted on 08/28/2018
Spencer Cartwright(SPS) - If you’re familiar with the musical Annie, then you probably recognize the song Easy Street and how it plays out.

Easy street
Easy street
Where you sleep till noon

Sapulpa High School senior Spencer Cartwright is all too familiar with those lyrics. He sang them in last year’s production of Annie while playing the part of Rooster Hannigan. He also knows that the road ahead is going to be anything but easy and there won’t be many days where he’ll sleep until noon.

This summer, Spencer ran for and was elected as one of six officers of International Thespian Society.

According to the ITS Facebook page, it's the world’s largest honor society for theater students. ITS has been around since 1929 and is comprised of more than 3,900 high school and middle school troupes, mostly in the U.S. and Canada.

“It’s huge,” said theater teacher Rebecca Braswell of Spencer’s election. How huge? Spencer was elected out of thousands of student members. He’s the first officer from the state of Oklahoma to serve.

“My name was the first one called,” Spencer said of the announcement of the new officers during the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in June. “I just froze, I was like, ‘this can’t be real.’ I’ve been working up to this for months and months and to like actually know I had been elected was amazing and to know that many important leaders from throughout the country trust me with such a big position was really, really humbling.”

That big position comes with a big obligation.

“His responsibility is gonna be, to go be a leader, do workshops to teach other kids,” said Mrs. Braswell.

Spencer will travel the country speaking at thespian festivals, presenting workshops about leadership, and advocating for the arts.

Spencer Cartwright and fellow ITS officers

He said his workshop presentation is about a quarter of the way done, but he does have the title - How to Aim it Successfully while Playing Darts - which may sound a bit odd for a theater leadership festival.

“It’s really about finding the bullseye of life and finding the bullseye of leadership and how even if you aim for a certain area but land it somewhere else, it’s ok. And how to really navigate that and how to work through problems,” said Spencer.

He’s already spent a week in Kansas City for leadership training, and toward the end of September, he’ll head off to New York for three days to learn more about his upcoming travel and duties. It sounds like a lot to take on, but Braswell said it’s Spencer’s drive that will help him get through it.

“You have to be passionate about theater. You have to understand how beneficial theater is for students,” said Braswell. “He sees how positive theater
 can be for kids.”

“Arts are such a vital thing in schools, I mean this is the only, theater is the only place that I know anyways that you can learn about history and math and really just grow into a family, I mean all at the same time,” Spencer said.

Spencer Cartwright and classmates

If you’re wondering how this AP student will squeeze his new responsibilities in with his schoolwork, Spencer said he has his friends as well as the long plane rides and nights in his hotel room to help him manage.

“I’ll just get no sleep is what it’ll be.” Remember, this isn’t Easy Street.

Spencer got involved with the arts in 2nd grade when he performed in the high school production of Oliver, and he’s been hooked on theater ever since.

“It’s been that thing that’s stayed constant throughout my life and that’s why I’m still doing it to this day,” he said.

And over the course of the next year, theater will be even more of a constant in the life of the president of Troupe 7122, state thespian officer, and now, International Thespian Officer.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Spencer is looking at the University of Oklahoma and plans on double majoring in stage acting and political science.

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