Coed, independent, PK-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Meet Kylie Heyman
If you ask any of Kylie's classmates or teachers where they expect to see Kylie Heyman in five or ten years, there is a one-word unanimous answer—Broadway. Kylie has been one of the shining stars of Shorecrest's acclaimed performing arts program starring in Anything Goes, Mary Poppins, Chicago, and Sound of Music, just to name a few. Those who don't know Kylie may assume she's the typical stage diva who has been vying for the limelight her whole life. And it's true—she does relish her time on stage, but she is far from a diva and actually started life as a quiet, introverted child.
Kylie first came to Shorecrest in junior kindergarten 14 years ago. The little sibling of a boisterous, outgoing older sister, she describes herself as “painfully shy.” She elaborates, “I wouldn't dream of speaking to strangers and even around my few close friends I was extremely quiet.”
So how did that shy little girl become the Shorecrest theatre darling? Kylie credits her Lower School music teacher, Valerie Diaz Leroy. “Ms. Diaz Leroy was the teacher who pulled me out of myself,” she says.
Kylie has always loved music. As a five year old, she would put on a Christina Aguilera CD in her room and sing along, but only if she was sure no one could hear her. Ms. Diaz Leroy saw that little girl in class, clearly passionate about music, and in fourth grade cast Kylie as the lead in a class musical production. Kylie admits that she was terrified. With Ms. Diaz Leroy's encouragement, though, she was able to go onstage and sing her little heart out.—and it was the first time Kylie’s family had ever heard her sing.
It seems Kylie hasn't stopped performing since then. She had the lead of Belle in the Middle School production of Beauty and the Beast Jr., played Liesl in Sound of Music, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, and played Mary Poppins in the musical of the same name in her final Shorecrest production.
Kylie acknowledges that without Ms. Diaz Leroy she probably wouldn't be where she is today. “I had to have something initially pull me out of that comfort zone. Ms. Diaz Leory realized I was reserved and knew that I needed a push. I think that's so important in all teachers—to recognize that young students need to be pushed out of their comfort zones.”
Even though Kylie still admits she's a little shy, she is much more comfortable in her skin, and she's right at home on the stage. This spring she had three lifelong dreams come true in the course of just three days. Following an outstanding performance of her solo "Avalanche" from Tales from the Bad Years at the District Thespian Festival, she was invited to perform in the opening ceremonies at the Florida State Thespian Festival. She found out she was one of two Florida students selected to win the Broadway Star of the Future Award and attend the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City in June. And she reprised her role of Reno Sweeney from Anything Goes when the entire cast from Shorecrest performed the production in a sold-out Morsani Hall at the Straz Center in Tampa (that's 2,610 seats!)
During that sold-out performance, the cast sang the title song, and there is a moment when the rest of the cast sings as Reno stands still. In that moment of pause, before belting out her final note, Kylie looked out at a packed theatre and remembers thinking to herself, “Right now I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing for the rest of my life! And fourteen years at Shorecrest have lead me to this amazing point.”
After taking it all in, she belted out that renowned final note. The audience leapt to their feet with a standing ovation -- twice.
"Whenever people say 'do the one thing that makes you want to get up in the morning,' I always feel a little awkward because most people reply with business management or intermolecular physics. More than anything in the world, I want to get up every day and go to work on stage."
Shorecrest Preparatory School
5101 First Street Northeast St Petersburg, FL 33703 Phone: (727) 522-2111 | Fax: (727) 527-4191 [Map]