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  • Sydney preforms on stage

    Sydney was nominated for a Tommy Award for her role as the Evil Queen in the 2016 production "Once Upon a Mattress."

  • Sydney in legally blonde

    Sydney, at right in the teal skirt, played one of Elle Woods' sorority sisters in the musical "Legally Blonde."

  • Sydney acting

    At far left, Sydney played the foreman in "Twelve Angry Jurors."

  • Sydney in Twelve angry jurors

    Sydney in "Twelve Angry Jurors."

  • Sydney at La Follette

    "I've always loved La Follette musicals," says Sydney, in the teal skirt with her Delta Nu sisters.

Sydney Saunders grew up attending Madison public schools, but after middle school she briefly considered enrolling in another district’s high school because it was closer, geographically, and she had friends in the district. Ultimately, after attending orientations at both schools, she chose La Follette.

"At orientation, I found that Madison was pushing academics much more, telling us, ‘We really want to make sure you go to a university, and a good university.’ For me, I wanted something that was a little more challenging," Sydney says.

And the school didn’t disappoint. "We have a fantastic English department. I could rave about it all day. I learned early on how to write a very long paper. My freshman year I wrote a 15-page paper by the end of the first semester. They really prepare us. And I think that’s really helped me find my love for English and helped me articulate myself."

Sydney was also interested in La Follette’s arts programming. "I’ve always loved La Follette musicals and I’m really into performing." Sydney felt she could get a superior education here “and still be in a very good music and drama program.”

She’s been performing on La Follette’s stage for four years, with roles in many productions, including "All Shook Up," "Oklahoma!," "Twelve Angry Jurors," "Legally Blonde," "Almost Maine," and "Once Upon a Mattress," for which she was nominated for a Tommy Award.

Not that she wasn’t plenty busy with drama, musical, show choir, National Honors Society, and a full course load featuring many honors and Advanced Placement courses, Sydney found a passion for Restorative Justice circle-keeping and Youth Court. "I was very, very involved in high school," she says. You can hear her describe these two programs in the audio below.

Now a high school graduate, Sydney is headed to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in the fall where she plans to study Kinesiology and eventually become a Physician’s Assistant.