Cohn cheered on the hawks, then took center stage

Beth Cohn

Beth+Cohn+stands+on+a+platform+with+their+hands+on+their+hips+as+Elle+Woods%2C+the+main+character+in+Terraces+production+of+Legally+Blonde

© HAWKEYE Seras Bryner

“OH MY GOD!” As the lead character Elle in the Drama Department’s spring musical “Legally Blonde,” natural red head senior Beth Cohn sang, danced and acted their way to resounding applause over the show’s three-night run in the MTHS Theater.

By Mika Raring, Hawkeye Staff

From coming to Terrace as a freshman in 2018 to now, senior Beth Cohn has been seen all around the school in different clubs, sports and even more activities. Since freshman year they have been involved in cheer, theater and band, adding even more as high school progressed, and continuously climbing the ranks in each one.

For Cohn, band has always been an important aspect of their life, allowing them to keep music present. While they had been involved in school bands since elementary school, Cohn always admired jazz and wanted to be a part of it.

“I’ve always seen jazz band as one of the coolest things you can be involved in,” Cohn said. “But it wasn’t an option since I played the flute.”

Starting off high school on the flute, Cohn played in the school’s concert band for their first two years, learning alto saxophone on the side. They also participated in jazz 3 when it was still offered, which took place as a zero period class a couple times a week.

In their junior year, Cohn switched completely to jazz band and the alto saxophone, spending their 2020-21 school year in jazz 2 before advancing into jazz 1 for their senior year.

“[Jazz 1] is much more demanding, and not in a bad way. It was really like, ‘Okay, I need to be pushing myself,’” Cohn said. “I think I was able to get a lot better in a short period of time.”

Jazz 1 was definitely a time-consuming commitment for Cohn. The group works all year towards shows such as “Hot Java, Cool Jazz,” an annual concert sponsored by Starbucks, and “Essentially Ellington,” a nationwide jazz competition featuring the top 15 high school jazz bands in America to compete in New York City.

“I’ve had to learn a lot about being part of a group and about keeping going, even when it’s really difficult,” Cohn said.

Earlier this year, the band program hosted the world-renowned trumpet player Allen Vizzutti to play at one of their concerts. Expectedly, he inspired many of the players and brought in a lot of incentive towards playing in a band. To Cohn, he brought the motivation and excitement that they had joined band for to the surface.

“Sometimes, especially as a senior, I feel like ‘Oh, I just need to get through this year, then I can drop everything,’ because I’m just really tired,” Cohn said. “Being at that concert, it was really like, oh, I actually do like playing music.”

Over their four years of playing an instrument in the band, Cohn has found an especially strong connection to music, which the band director, Darin Faul, has added to.

“The band teacher we have at this school is amazing,” Cohn said. “He’s so passionate about what he does and really has made the music program, especially the jazz band program, into what it is.”

In addition to band, Cohn has stayed involved with music and performance through theater.

“I kind of impulsively auditioned for the little play “Check, Please!” and I ended up getting into it,” they said.

Cohn joined theater in their freshman year after auditioning for the school play. Since then, they have been in the productions of “Godspell” in their sophomore year, and “Legally Blonde,” which took place this year.

“[I do] theater and cheer because I really enjoy performing,” Cohn said.

Although Cohn joined the drama club on a whim, they discovered a new talent and played the main character, Elle Woods, in this year’s musical, “Legally Blonde”. With auditions taking place around two months ago, Cohn and the rest of the production team has worked non-stop to make the musical the best it can be.

Coming from a background of dancing, it’s not surprising that Cohn does cheer as well. Taking the position of a flyer, the person who does the stunts, they have brought spirit to Terrace sports games and assemblies, and competed with MTHS’s cheerleading squad in the state competition multiple years in a row. This year, they placed sixth in the largest division of the competition for the small game day routine.

Joining the squad in their freshman year, Cohn has competed with the team for three seasons, and faced the challenges that occurred last year due to COVID-19.

“It was pretty difficult this last winter, because with our competition season, we had to [redo] routines and formations almost between every competition based on who was out with COVID,” Cohn said.

Cheer wasn’t the only extracurricular affected by COVID, however, with band also taking a hit.

“Jazz band especially [was affected by COVID] because with music, what I enjoy most is when I get to play with other people,” Cohn said. “When I’m trying to motivate myself, it’s much more difficult.”

Despite the challenge of band on a screen, Cohn showed up prepared everyday for class with their camera turned on. Even with classes being held online, Cohn put maximum effort into their extracurriculars, showing the dedication they held to these activities.

The Gender Sexuality Alliance club, or GSA, was another area where Cohn felt welcome at Terrace.

“When I was younger, [GSA] really served as a space where I could figure out my own identity,” Cohn said. “It was just a place with other people who were also trying to figure it out.”

Cohn joined GSA at the beginning of their sophomore year, and it soon became a safe space full of others who were looking for support as well.

“We could become a group who was just trying to support each other, and I really want to help create that kind of space for younger kids,” they said.

This year, Cohn had served as the club’s vice president, with the goal of welcoming new members in and creating a community that supports one another, much like the one they found in GSA.

Despite having an almost overflowing schedule, Cohn doesn’t regret anything about taking on the extra responsibilities.

“It definitely is really stressful to have a full schedule,” Cohn said. “It sometimes feels like I’m not sure if I can do it, because I really like all of it. That’s why I joined.”

Next year, Cohn will be attending the University of Washington’s (UW) engineering program, and moving onto the campus. The STEM program at Terrace had been a large influence in this decision, giving Cohn some of the experience and opportunities that added to their interest.

“In my classes, especially my STEM classes like biotech, which I took when I was a sophomore, I got to learn about things that I was really passionate about, and it cemented that idea that I want to go into this field,” they said.

Cohn had known that they wanted to go into the STEM program at Terrace for a long time, and after completing the biotech program, it confirmed what they wanted to study. At UW, they will be looking into studying bioengineering, a long-term goal they’ve had since they were 12.

After reflecting back on their time at MTHS and what it taught them, Cohn is excited to take new steps into their future, knowing they’ll be prepared for wherever it may lead them.