Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Meet Casey Reich

As the audience members filed into the Janet Root Theatre, eager for the production of "A Chorus Line," they marveled at the kaleidoscope of origami butterflies floating above them. The butterflies, one to symbolize each grade-level at Shorecrest, appeared to rise from the 6-foot sculpture of an open hand, releasing them into the space overhead. The installation, entitled “As One, We Go On,” was the first of its kind at Shorecrest and is just one of the many marks Casey Reich leaves on the campus.

The installation was the culminating project of Casey's year-long independent study of Architectural Concepts & Design. "Toward the end I focused on the integration of design into spaces," Casey says. The theatre lobby, a gathering place for all members of the school community, was a natural fit for the display.

"This past year has been rough for a lot of people, there have been tragedies in our community," Casey explains. "I wanted to do something to symbolize the moving on, letting go and moving on to something better."

Casey completed the independent study and final project under the supervision of Upper School art teacher Aaron Sober. "He has been a great mentor who helped me discover my own potential, always pushing me to take on ambitious projects," says Casey. "He has always been there to support me, whether it be by lending me tools or giving me guidance."

Similarly, Mr. Sober has great appreciation and respect for Casey. "He's interested in every part of the design process," writes Mr. Sober. "He has the soul of an artist."

Art and design have been Casey's passions as long as he can remember. While he is adept at many of the software programs that create digital art, Casey is a craftsman at heart and loves to create by hand. "It helps me understand how things work," he says.
Understanding for his own sake, rather than for a score or a grade, is important to Casey. His math teacher, Will Thayer, recalls, "There was a moment when he came in to discuss absolute value inequalities, when I realized just how much effort he had been putting into the work. I remember saying to him, 'Don’t worry about that one, Casey, I won’t be asking that on the test.' He responded without missing a beat, 'I know Mr. Thayer, but I want to understand it anyway.'"

Casey came to understand basic automobile mechanics when he totally rebuilt a 1979 Triumph Spitfire he got from his grandfather. "It didn't run," laughs Casey. "But it was in my grandpa's garage and I loved it." If he could fix it, he could have it, his grandfather agreed. Casey put 150 hours into refinishing the rusted gas tank, refurbishing the clutch, unlocking the engine, fixing the electrical system, and reupholstering the seats.

With such a broad range of skillsets and interests, Casey began to consider narrowing his focus to architecture after attending the Design Exploration Program at the University of Florida's School of Architecture. He went on to intern with Harvard Jolly Architecture where he was able to work alongside practicing professionals, some of whom are working on the new Innovation Center & Community Commons at Shorecrest.

When applying to colleges, Casey had a choice to make. "I was looking for design schools, but didn't want an art school necessarily. I was drawn to architecture school at first, but I didn't want to do all architecture. I like trying a lot of new things."
When he discovered Iovine and Young Academy at the University of Southern California, he knew he'd found something created just for students like him. Casey recalls, "I liked it because it combined my interest in art and design, but also business and tech, and you get a bachelor's of science degree."

That degree is in "Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation" in a nascent program at USC founded by entrepreneurs/disruptors Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young, the powerhouses behind Apple Music and Beats by Dre. The program just graduated its first cohort the week before Casey himself graduated Shorecrest.

IYA is a highly-selective, incubator-like undergraduate program that requires a rigorous application process, on top of the regular admissions process for USC. "I had to turn in a portfolio of my work, and create a new video to pitch a product I'd develop, then interview in person." Casey's pitch for a wearable piece of technology that could alert caregivers to food allergies secured him a spot as one of the only 25 or so students accepted into the academy.

“The No. 1 thing we look for in an academy applicant is: Do they see the world differently?” says academy Dean Erica Muhl on the IYA website.

Casey indeed sees the world differently, and he is able to share that unique vision through his artwork, like the mural he designed for CASA during this year's Service Week. "I wanted to design something comforting," said Casey, "and to tell a story with it." Together with a group of Shorecrest art students and Charla Gaglio, Upper School art teacher, Casey designed and painted the 4-paneled mural at a CASA center for victims of domestic violence.

Using his talents to serve others is a recurring theme for Casey. He uses his design and building skills in his work with Habitat for Humanity. "I like doing construction on the houses," says Casey. "It's great to work alongside the people that are going to live in the house."

Also an avid tennis player and member of the Shorecrest varsity tennis team, Casey volunteers at the St. Pete Racquet Club teaching young children the sport.

When asked about life after Shorecrest, and moving across the country, Casey appears calm, confident, and well-prepared. According to his teacher Aaron Sober, he is. "He understands the tremendous work required to succeed in this field and is ready for the task."
    • “As One, We Go On” with artist Casey Reich

      “As One, We Go On” with artist Casey Reich '18

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.